Refeyn spun out of the Chemistry Department at University of Oxford to commercialize technology applied to molecular mass measurement. The company is developing scientific instrumentation called ‘mass photometry’ that uses single molecule light scattering for detection, imaging and accurate mass determination of biomolecules in solution. The technology has applications in the biopharma sector with the potential to increase productivity in protein research projects. Specific applications include mass measurement in solution, assembly and stoichiometry of protein complexes, mass measurement of heterogenous biomolecules and protein-protein interactions. Measurements are done in minutes with microliter quantities of sample. Refeyn has a table-top instrument called the Refeyn One which uses their proprietary software to automatically control the acquisition of data by performing mass analysis.
Mass photometry uses the principles of interference reflection microscopy and interferometric scattering microscopy. Professor Kukura and his research group used carefully controlled illumination and a novel spatial-filtering detection strategy to demonstrate that light scattered by single proteins can be detected and quantified, which was published in Science in 2018. The scattered light scales with particle volume and refractive index and the scattering signal is directly proportional to the molecular mass. Mass photometry measurements are accurate over a large mass range and can be used for glycoproteins, nucleic acids and heterogenous assemblies such as lipid nanodiscs.
Refeyn is supported by Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI). Their venture round was funded by Oxford University Innovation. In March 2019, Foresight Group LLP and Williams Advanced Engineering announced a £1 million equity investment into Refeyn Ltd .