Biotech Startup Nautilus Bringing New Mass Spectrometers to Healthcare

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Nautilus, a Seattle-based biotechnology company established in 2016 by co-founders Sujal Patel and Parag Mallick, is working on a device to provide deep analysis of the trillions of proteins circulating within the human body.

According to the biotech startup, while existing tools only measure up to 8% of the different types of proteins in blood samples, its device is able to make a level of detail that has never been done before, identifying and counting 95% of the different types of proteins in a biological sample.

In addition to assisting doctors to identify more specific forms of diseases, these protein measurements also can assist pharmaceutical companies to find more precise drugs with fewer side effects.

Human cells can contain roughly 20,000 different types of proteins that are responsible for crucial functions like digestion, and protection from diseases.

Each cell has a varying amount of protein. The problem is scientists don’t have a great way of counting how many of each type of protein a cell has thought existing tools are expensive, inefficient, and can only count a fraction of all proteins.

While DNA remains largely unchanged throughout a person’s life, a person’s diet, health, and environment affect protein levels.

Nautilus’ solution is to develop a system that can quantify how many of each type of protein exists in a sample with the goal is to provide a complete profile showing the amounts of each protein in blood samples, or tissue samples, from different organs in the human body, called proteome.

Nautilus’ machine is set to launch in late 2023 and costs around $1.1 million. It will include software and maintenance services for the first few years.

Patel, co-founder of Nautilus said, “All of those things in totality will transform the health care landscape.”

In its early stages, Jeff Bezos’ venture capital firm Bezos Expeditions supported the company, along with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital, and Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group.

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