Austrian Medtech Opens Down Under Inspired by REDI Fellowship and Quality of Australian Research

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14 December 2023

Pictured: front row far right, Professor Jyotsna Batra with the Tissue Gnostics team and the Stop Spread Bad Bugs (SSBB) consortium members at Tissue Gnostics global headquarters in Vienna, Austria, where she attended an SSBB consortium meeting in September 2023.

Established in 2003 and based in Vienna, Austria, TissueGnostics is an innovative medtech company recognised as a leading global provider of state-of-the-art tissue cytometers for the measurement and characteristics of cells, which includes variables such as cell size, cell count, cell morphology (shape and structure), and cell cycle phase among others.

Based on its innovative ‘tissue cytometry’ technology – which offers options including multi spectral, high throughput imaging and spatial phenotyping in tissue sections – Tissue Gnostics opened subsidiaries and offices in the US in 2007, Romania in 2008, China in 2017, and the UK and Brazil in 2022, but had no intentions of expanding any further into the southern hemisphere.

Used to working with high quality researchers in Europe and the US – including the Medical University and Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research in Vienna, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, and Brighamand Women’s Hospital in Boston – when TissueGnostics ended up working with researchers from Australia, the company was extremely impressed with the high quality of research in Life Sciences down under.

TissueGnostics CEO Dr Rupert Ecker said as the company is based in Vienna, it has worked with research partners in Europe and the US.

Extremely impressed with the calibre of research in Australia

"But when we encountered Australian researchers working in the Life Sciences field, we were extremely impressed with the high quality, breadth, depth and rigour of the research being conducted.

“We were so impressed with the Australian research, this ultimately led to us making the decision to establish an Australian subsidiary of TissueGnostics in Brisbane, Queensland, and we also started a collaboration with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and academics there,” Dr Ecker said.

Pictured: The Tissue Gnostics management team, from left, Chief Operating Officer Mr Rudolf Jedletzberger, Chief Executive Officer Dr Rupert Ecker – both based at the company’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria; and Managing Director of TissueGnostics Asia-Pacific Mr Wu Hai. Registered in Hong Kong, Tissue Gnostics Asia-Pacific has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Taipei.

Professor Jyotsna Batra is one of the Australian academics who impressed TissueGnostics. She works as a Laboratory Head at the Centre for Genomics and Personalised Medicine, Translational Research Institute at QUT.

Internationally recognised leading researcher

An internationally recognised leading researcher in molecular genetics of prostate cancer with translational focus, Professor Batra formally joined forces with TissueGnostics in late 2021, when the company was awarded a REDI Fellowship through MTPConnect’s Researcher Exchange and Development Within Industry (REDI) initiative to develop a novel clinical in-situ test for prostate cancer precision diagnostics.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of male cancer death. Although the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test is strongly predictive of long-term risk of lethality, only ~75 per cent of all lethal prostate cancer cases occur among men with PSA levels in the top quartile.

While working with TissueGnostics in Austria, REDI Fellow Jyotsna Batra had the opportunity to be interviewed for the ‘A REDI Fellowship Sponsor’ as part of the ‘New Frontiers’ series of the US-based Planet TV Studios, airing on Bloomberg and other business and on-demand TV channels – which boast an expected audience of 300 million worldwide. In the interview, she talked about her positive and valuable experience of the REDI Fellowship and working with TissueGnostics in Vienna with its R&D team.

Watch Jyotsna Batra’s interview: 

As a REDI Fellow, Professor Batra worked as a member of the TissueGnostics R&D team in a regulated industrial environment complying with the company’s standard operating procedures for development and production.

With outstanding know-how and expertise in combined proteomics and genetics, Professor Batra was the ideal fit for the REDI Fellowship awarded to Tissue Gnostics.

TissueGnostics CEO Dr Ecker said it was of great benefit for the company to host REDI Fellow Professor Batra at its Vienna corporate headquarters.

“We are also very pleased to start our new subsidiary – after the US and China – here in Australia with an excellent partner network, to which Jyotsna's REDI Fellowship contributed substantially!

“Tissue Gnostics R&D team also learned a lot from Jyotsna, so it was a very valuable and positive experience for everyone involved over the 12 months she worked with us,” Dr Ecker said.

Pictured: Professor Batra, in the centre, taking part in the Stop Spread Bad Bugs (SSBB) consortium at Tissue Gnostics global headquarters in Vienna, Austria, which came about because of her REDI Fellowship.

In addition to her work placement and experience with Tissue Gnostics, Professor Batra has benefitted in further ways from her REDI Fellowship.

Dr Ecker said because of the REDI Fellowship with TissueGnostics at the company’s global headquarters in Vienna, Professor Batra was also exposed to the Stop Spread Bad Bugs (SSBB) consortium.

“SSBB is a multi-disciplinary research/training consortium built to combat the alarming problem of global antimicrobial resistance. It is a multi-million Europe and EU-funded Marie-Curie Doctoral Network* headed up by the ERASMUS Medical Centre in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and includes multiple partners across Europe.

Further opportunities in Europe

“Professor Batra’s exposure to SSBB has resulted in her being invited to become an associated partner on another EU-project headed by the Institute of Pathophysiology, Medical University Vienna, which received funding in 2023 and will kick-off in January 2024.

“This second Marie-Curie project is titled eRaDicate and will investigate the Vitamin D Receptor and the Retinoic Acid Receptor as potential targets of therapeutic intervention to eradicate cancer relapse – an important, cutting-edge project for Professor Batra to be involved with,” Dr Ecker said.

Pictured: At the REDI Fellowships Networking event in Brisbane, from left, MTPConnect's Chief Operating Officer Ms Lisa Dubé, Chief Executive Officer TissueGnostics Dr Rupert Ecker, and REDI program Director Mr Jarrod Belcher. 

Director of the REDI program Jarrod Belcher said the MTPConnect REDI Fellowships continue to amaze him.

“New connections between industry and academia are immensely powerful. I expected ongoing collaborations, but I never expected a world leading company such as TissueGnostics would set up a subsidiary in Australia largely based on the quality of research here showcased through its REDI Fellow Jyotsna Batra.

“A big thank you to Rupert Ecker for the vote of confidence in Australia and our REDI Fellowship program,” Mr Belcher said.

Find out more about TissueGnostics’ journey via video here 

*Marie-Curie Doctoral Networks are Innovative Training Networks funded within the EU Framework Program (Horizon EUROPE) and aim at educating early-stage researchers by bringing academic institutions and industry across Europe. SSBB is headed by the ERASMUS Medical Centre in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and has multiple partners including: Trinity College Dublin, Ireland; University Utrecht, The Netherlands; Philips University Marburg, Germany; University of Stavanger, Norway; Institute of Agriffod Research and Technology, Spain; Intalian Institute of Technology; TissueGnostics Gmbh Vienna, Austria; Hylomorph Zurich, Switzerland; SetLance, Italy; Inbiose Ghent, Belgium; Aquilon Pharmaceuticlas, Belgium; MEDRES Medical Research Cologne, Germany; and Anitom, Belgium.