dPCR, QIAcuity, herostory, customer, Mogens Kruhøffer, BioXpedia
dPCR

Guiding researchers with cutting edge dPCR technology

01 October 2021

All local recommended safety guidelines followed at the time of interview.

Clinical researchers are on a quest for breakthroughs in treatment and care. But the pressure is immense. They have to race against the clock to reach milestones to ensure continued funding, and rarely have time to keep track of which technologies are constantly being developed. Not only that, but faster and more reliable data means new treatments makes it to the patient bedside sooner. And this is exactly what inspired Mogens Kruhøffer to build a company to support clinical research groups.

Mogens Kruhøffer starts his mornings watching the water. He lives directly by the sea in Aarhus, on the east coast of Denmark’s Jutland peninsula. An avid swimmer, diver, boater and spearfisherman, Kruhøffer sits back and takes in “all the boats, the canoes, the sailboats, the motorboats just in front of my windows every morning,” he says. “I can sit for hours and just watch it. And that's really a good way to avoid stress. It's wonderful.”

A Danish native, Kruhøffer was drawn to Denmark’s second largest city (after Copenhagen) not only because of its seaside lifestyle, but because it has one of the world’s best hospitals, Aarhus University Hospital, where he worked for several years as a researcher in bladder and colorectal cancer. He intimately understands how clinical researchers are on a quest to better understand the molecular underpinnings of health and medicine to make breakthroughs in treatment and care.

He also understands that many of these researchers have not only patient care on their plate but also administrative duties to manage and students to train so they rarely have time to keep up with the latest technological advances that can both make research projects easier and give more detailed results. “How could they possibly also keep track of methods and technologies being developed all the time?” Kruhøffer says.

“Our mission is to support clinical research groups in hospitals and in universities, biotech companies, and pharma in their research,” explains Mogens Kruhøffer, founder and CEO of BioXpedia. They are currently working with the British company PreSymptom Health that is developing a gene expression signature to tell if patients are going to develop sepsis, for example. “We are always listening to what they need for their research and implementing the applications and workflows in our laboratories.” Their most recent addition to the lab, the QIAcuity, will allow them to provide better results and even faster. Ultimately, “I'm interested in accelerating the research from idea to bedside for the benefit of patients,” explains Kruhøffer.
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It's very important that the instruments we have are robust and that they don't make errors and ruin the unique samples we receive.
Mogens Kruhøffer, founder and CEO, BioXpedia

Applying the right technology

That’s where his company BioXpedia comes in. Founded in 2016, BioXpedia is “a contract research organization offering analytical services within genomics, proteomics and for small molecules,” says Kruhøffer, its founder and CEO. “Our mission is to support clinical research groups in hospitals and in universities, biotech companies, and pharma in their research.”

He saw the potential for technological advances to make research easier and better. “I'm very passionate about technologies, because for many years I've been working hands-on in laboratories,” he says. Cumbersome manual processing used to keep him in the lab late into the night. “With the new technologies, the speed of which you get from pure sample to data is amazing.”

While 90% of BioXpedia’s customers are clinical researchers, an increasing number of biotech startups and pharmaceutical companies drawn to Aarhus are also using BioXpedia’s services.

“The most important factor for biotech companies is often time,” he notes. “They have to reach certain milestones within a certain time to get the next amount of funding. So it's very important for them that they run analysis of the new molecules that they're developing all the time and get results fast. So we have hired new staff and bought the equipment to do so.”

dPCR, QIAcuity, herostory, customer, Mogens Kruhøffer, BioXpedia
A Danish native, Mogens Kruhøffer was drawn to Denmark’s second largest city (after Copenhagen) not only because of its seaside lifestyle, but because it has one of the world’s best hospitals, Aarhus University Hospital, where he worked for several years as a researcher in bladder and colorectal cancer. He intimately understands how clinical researchers are on a quest to better understand the molecular underpinnings of health and medicine to make breakthroughs in treatment and care. “My motivation for doing what I'm doing is that I feel that I can make a difference on several levels,” Kruhøffer says. “I've been both in academia and in private companies and every time people tell me about their research, I learn more and more.”
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Our intention is to not only look at a project itself at the time, but also where it is going and to use the right techniques from the start.
Mogens Kruhøffer, founder and CEO, BioXpedia

dPCR to supplement qPCR

BioXpedia focuses on advanced technological offerings, including qPCR analysis of gene expression, transcriptomics (including RNA library prep and sequencing), genotyping services, protein analysis, bioinformatics and, most recently dPCR, using QIAGEN’s QIAcuity. About three-quarters of BioXpedia’s lab equipment that is used for the extraction of molecules is from QIAGEN, Kruhøffer says.

One of the newest QIAGEN instruments in the BioXpedia lab is the QIAcuity, a digital PCR instrument. It’s been in the lab only a few months, but after getting some lessons in its use, they’ve already begun to analyze samples. “I must say, I'm impressed. The software is very intuitive and easy to use, and the whole workflow is easy to use. We're very happy about that instrument.”

Kruhøffer says their dPCR services are meant to supplement their qualitative PCR work not replace it. And yet, he notes, “The digital PCR has some very obvious advantages against the qPCR. It is very robust and has a very high precision. Instead of a qPCR where you need to make a standard curve and where you need to have reference genes to compare the gene expression level, the digital PCR is more or less a digital counting of molecules.”

He continues, “It's amazing technology. It gives you the opportunity to compare data from different laboratories and from different countries, because the PCR reaction is not dependent on the efficiency of the reaction. In digital PCR, you only need to see, is there a product or is there no product? And then you can count it. That gives you a much better comparability between data. I believe digital PCR has a bright future.”

dPCR, QIAcuity, herostory, customer, Mogens Kruhøffer, BioXpedia
Kruhøffer began the transition from researcher to research consultant, when he and a few colleagues from Aarhus University Hospital formed a company to offer genomics services. It was the first startup in Denmark to launch from within a hospital. BioXpedia customizes the workflow for each customer through every step of the process: concept, project design, sample preparation, sample analysis, data delivery and even biostatistics. Their solutions include many QIAGEN products and instruments, from genomic testing kits to the QIAcuity digital PCR instrument. “We show them our technologies and discuss how we could apply those technologies to their problems,” he says.
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If you can look at protein interactions in QIAcuity, there are almost an infinite number of assays that you could develop for the instrument.
Mogens Kruhøffer, founder and CEO, BioXpedia

Aha moments

Kruhøffer is excited to offer the QIAcuity to more researchers in seaside Aarhus and see what breakthroughs they might make with it.

“One of the very recent ‘Aha moments’ I've had was when I learned that the QIAcuity may be used to quantify proteins and even protein-protein interactions. The human body is an electrical organism, and there's a lot of signals going on all the time. We used to say it's the genes doing that, but actually it's more the proteins doing all the work.”

He says, “If you can look at protein-protein interactions in QIAcuity, there would be almost an infinite number of assays that you could develop for the instrument. I believe that if you can develop such assays, you will have a very easy and cost-effective way to do analysis.

This is really interesting for BioXpedia, because we already screen more than 1,500 proteins at a time and it is quite expensive to screen that many proteins. After such screens, we obviously want to investigate interesting proteins from such a screen further using the QIAcuity. We just need the assays, and then we can offer this to our customers. I think it’s opening a whole new field.”

dPCR, QIAcuity, herostory, customer, Mogens Kruhøffer, BioXpedia
“One of the very recent ‘Aha moments’ I've had was when I learned that the QIAcuity may be used to quantify proteins and even protein-protein interactions. The human body is an electrical organism, and there's a lot of signals going on all the time. We used to say it's the genes doing that, but actually it's more the proteins doing all the work.” He says, “If you can look at protein-protein interactions in QIAcuity, there would be almost an infinite number of assays that you could develop for the instrument.“
Why choose dPCR?
Learn how the technology compares to qPCR and how it is made accessible to everyone by introducing the QIAcuity.
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