WELCOME TO U-PACT
the platelet diagnostics company
Our mission is to better assess bleeding risk in leukemia patients. Therefore U-PACT offers diagnostic tools based on platelet function.
U-PACT is a molecular diagnostics company, which was founded in 2016 as a spin-off from the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Our team has decades of experience in blood platelet biology and diagnostics of bleeding disorders, and develops technology to provide comprehensive tools for accurate assessment of bleeding risk. The company’s lead product is a platelet activation test based on flow cytometry, which analyses platelet function in blood samples of thrombocytopenic cancer patients.
The solutions offered by U-PACT will provide a means to improve quality of patient care and clinical decision-making, and will save costs through a reduction in the duration of hospital stays. U-PACT will expand its portfolio with tools for the diagnosis of unidentified bleeding disorders based on platelet dysfunction and the monitoring of anti-platelet therapy in patients with cardiovascular disease.
We developed PACT: a platelet activation test based on flow cytometry, a well-recognized and established platform in clinical diagnostics.
PACT analyses platelet function through standardized flow cytometric assessment of platelet activation markers using nanobodies. Its nanobody-based technology allows for simultaneous assessment of multiple platelet activation pathways and activation parameters.
It is an easy-to-use, fast and robust diagnostic test providing results from blood collection to clinical diagnosis in less than 2 hours. Since PACT requires only a minimal amount of blood, it provides a patient friendly means of platelet function testing. Furthermore, PACT is the only diagnostic platelet function test that is not affected by platelet count.
The PACT test kit contains platelet-activating reagents, nanobodies, internal calibration standards and buffers, and U-PACT offers training and support to allow fast and efficient implementation in clinical diagnostic laboratories.
PACT test benefits:
- Excellent performance characteristics in samples with low platelet count
- Fast and easy to use
- Requires minimal amounts of blood
- Predict bleeding risk in patients with low platelet counts
Bleeding is a common side effect of chemotherapy in leukemia patients. At present, it is impossible to accurately predict which patient will bleed and which patient will not.
As a precaution, hematologists therefore treat all patients with platelet transfusions when their platelet count drops below 5% of normal. This is a heavy burden on the healthcare budget of hospitals.
More importantly, platelet transfusions are associated with a substantial health risk for the receiving patients and should thus be limited to those patients at risk of bleeding. Clinical trials show that platelet function is a better predictor of bleeding risk than the platelet count. But there is no reliable diagnostic test available that can determine platelet function at low platelet counts. U-PACT is the first to offer a platelet function test that addresses this need.
Our solution saves social healthcare costs. Platelet transfusions in the Netherlands alone, are associated with costs exceeding € 250,000,000.
In 2012, leukemia was diagnosed in over 82,000 people in Europe, 7,000 of these in the Netherlands. Treatment for leukemia consists of chemotherapy that destroys the blood cells.
This includes the destruction of platelets – the cells that prevent bleeding, which is why leukemia patients are at risk of bleeding. As a precaution to prevent life-threatening bleeds, hematologists transfuse all leukemia patients with donor platelets when the platelet count drops below 5% of normal.
This leads to the annual consumption of 130,000 units of platelets in the Netherlands, which is almost half of the total number of platelet units that are produced.
Platelet transfusions carry multiple health risks such as fever and allergic reactions for the receiving patient and are associated with healthcare costs exceeding € 250 M for the Netherlands alone.
Chief Executive Officer
Martin Hessing is an entrepreneur with extensive experience in startups, including AM-Pharma, Pathofinder, BiOrion Technologies, and U-Protein Express. He has a background in Biochemistry and Haematology-Immunology, resulting in a PhD from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands, followed by post-doc positions at Kyushu University in Japan, and Sanquin in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He has work and management experience at the TNO-Nutrition and Food Research Institute, and Organon Teknika (now BioMérieux) industry.
Chief Operational Officer
Suzanne Korporaal is a platelet biologist with a PhD in haematology from Utrecht University, the Netherlands. She has a background in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences (Leiden University). She held post-doc positions at the Department of Clinical Chemistry and Haematology at the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), and the Leiden Academic Center Of Drug Research (LACDR) on the impact of hyperlipidemia on platelet biology. She currently holds a position as Assistant Professor at the department of Clinical Chemistry and Haematology of the UMCU, where her research focuses on (diagnostics of) platelet (dys)function and related bleeding disorders.
Chief Scientific Officer
Rolf Urbanus is a biochemist with a PhD in haematology. He holds a position as an Assistant Professor at the department of Clinical Chemistry and Haematology of the UMCU. Dr. Urbanus is a principle investigator in the Circulatory Health program of the UMCU. His research interests include bleeding disorders due to platelet dysfunction and he is frequently consulted by haematologists for diagnostics of complex bleeding disorders. He currently focuses on the implementation of nanobody technology in molecular diagnostics of these complex disorders.