The SomaLogic Blog

Moving Beyond Potential

05/03/2017

Gripping a steering wheel sheathed in supple leather and driving down a winding road in a luxury car with ultra-responsive handling and superb performance... What could be more fun or exhilarating? Now, imagine if we swapped out the engine with a hamster and its wheel. The very same drive would not be as fun. Clearly, what goes on under the hood of the car is as important as the shining exterior and trimmings.

The SOMAscan® assay, like a fine luxury car, relies upon superb components to provide the customer with what they want—accurate measurement of relative protein levels in a biological sample. SomaLogic scientists finely craft each of these components, known as SOMAmers® (Slow Off-rate Modified Aptamer), to bind a specific target protein. The quality of each SOMAmer is rigorously assessed to ensure that it binds its target, and thus gives each customer exquisite data.

To check the specificity, each SOMAmer is tested for cross-reactivity with commercially available proteins that are similar to the original target. Scientists assess the strength of any off-target interactions, and if possible gauge the SOMAmer’s capabilities of engaging its target in plasma.

As is true of all high-performance vehicles, occasionally a flaw arises. If a SOMAmer binds strongly both to the original target and to very similar proteins, a redesign of the SOMAmer is initiated. After the SOMAmer engineers give the go ahead, the new SOMAmer is added to the next version of the SOMAscan assay.

Recently the SOMAmer engineers evaluated the entire SOMAmer fleet in the current SOMAscan assay. They observed that the vast majority of the SOMAmers bound specifically to their target. Also, a small fraction of the SOMAmers bound to  related proteins with a similar affinity to the original target protein or weakly. Complete information is available in a newly released White Paper.

SomaLogic is committed to ensuring the accuracy of its core technology by giving unequalled attention to the design, quality and performance of the SOMAmer reagents at the heart of the SOMAscan assay. Knowing the quality of the components under the hood gives us great confidence in where the whole vehicle takes us.