The Increasing Complexity of the Immuno-Oncology Drug Development Landscape

Multiplexed Immunofluorescence AssaysImmuno-oncology (IO) is a rapidly expanding therapeutic field that encompasses a wide variety of drug classes and targets. The number of new IO therapeutic trials per year has grown substantially, creating a competitive environment for patient recruitment and efficient sample interrogation. Drug design complexity has also grown, including drugs that interact with multiple tumor and immune cell hallmarks of disease.

Recent innovations in the IO field also require interrogation of specific cell phenotypes within the tissue, such as M1/M2 macrophages or Cytotoxic/Helper/Regulatory T cells along with insight into how these cells interact with one another. Advances in immunohistochemical methods, image capture, and image analysis capabilities allow researchers and clinicians to generate and interrogate these large datasets.

Creating Multiplex Panels to Fit Your Drug Design and Research Hypotheses

Creating multiplexed assays that can stain multiple markers on one tissue section is an intricate process that has only recently been standardized to provide reliable data in a clinical setting. Flagship’s science, pathology, and histology teams collaborate with our clients to develop multiplexed panels that deliver the information needed to determine drug activity and response characteristics.

Image Analysis of Comprehensive Datasets


Each tissue stained with a multiplex panel contains a vast amount of data to be interrogated, a challenging proposition for any pathologist using visual inspection alone. Using machine learning/artificial intelligence (AI) techniques and pathologist review, Flagship helps you to analyze the large amount of data generated and determine what is needed for your study. We are constantly adding to our own library of off-the-shelf panels, which can also be utilized without additional development efforts.

Flagship’s unique digital image analysis platform can quantify hundreds to thousands of per-cell characteristics, including:

  • Localized biomarker information from each channel in a multiplex panel
  • Morphological, spatial, and relational characteristics
  • Specific cellular phenotypes characterized and localized to the tumor, stroma, and tumor-stromal interfacial regions of the tissue
  • Information on each marker’s expression level from interpretation of fluorescent signals
  • Spatial relationships between marker phenotypes and expression levels

Our Process



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