Early detection of cancer and bacterial infections saves lives; an emerging technology that enables rapid diagnoses of these conditions is called metabolic flux analysis. We have developed synthetic techniques that enable this technology by producing the necessary chemical reagents. These required molecules (13C-labelled metabolites) are highly specialized and challenging to produce, with some currently costing hundreds of dollars for an amount less than a grain of sand. Based on a decade of research experience and nearly a million dollars in research funding from agencies including NSF and NASA, we have developed the technology to directly replicate a fundamental biological pathway to these intermediates that avoids costly enzymes or fermentation. These techniques decrease the synthetic costs of the labeled metabolites by over an order of magnitude.
New methods to synthesize 13C-labeled metabolites, in high purity and at low cost, will greatly expand access to these agents and enable significant growth in both research and diagnostic applications using stable isotopes. The current challenge in obtaining 13C-labeled diagnostics stems from limited synthetic methods available for its production and difficult purifications required to remove toxic chemical reagents and solvents; these issues play a major role in constraining future clinical trial investigations. Aconabolics’ technology is based on a proprietary series of synthetic protocols that replicate the most important biological pathway in life, the citric acid (TCA, Krebs) cycle. The novel chemistry produces no toxic waste, and can be carried out without organic solvents in water at mild temperature and pH. The resulting inventive process allows the development of multiple highly unexpected chemical transformations to generate metabolites that have a remarkable similarity to modern biological metabolism.
Due to the increasing view that many cancers can be classified as metabolic disorders, as well as the greatly enhanced recognition of the importance of the GI microbiome to health, the need for compounds that allow metabolic analysis is increasing. Coupled with advances in the resolution power of mass spectral analysis and magnetic resonance imaging, we foresee this being an opportune time to provide 13C-metabolites at a lower cost with a vastly expanded library of products. We are seeking to partner with academic, industrial, and healthcare institutions on the front line of cancer research to expand the technology for the diagnosis of rare cancers and metabolic disorders.
Aconabolics LLC specializes in the development and production of 13C-labeled metabolites for use at the leading edge of biotechnology, in yields and purities well beyond current industry standards. It is our mission to significantly lower the cost, and increase the accessibility, of 13C-labeled metabolites that are currently being evaluated in clinical trials. We are also developing new reagents to enable the visualization of alternative metabolic pathways prevalent in a variety of disease states including cardiomyopathies and traumatic brain injuries.