Quanterix, Billerica, Mass, is expanding its menu of ready-to-use Simoa kits to include tau phosphorylated at threonine 181 (p-tau 181), a highly specific biomarker for the study of Alzheimer’s disease pathology in cerebrospinal fluid, plasma, and serum.
A growing body of research suggests that the p-tau 181 biomarker could prove critical to predicting Alzheimer’s disease progression and differentiating the disease from other neurodegenerative disorders.1 Moreover, an ultrasensitive blood-based p-tau 181 assay may hold the key to advancing preventive care for the disease in clinics and home-care settings, via a simple, cost-effective blood-based screening that can deliver an early, objective diagnosis.


Kevin Hrusovsky, Quanterix.

“Biomarkers continue to play an invaluable role in understanding how neurological diseases manifest, progress, and respond to treatment,” says Kevin Hrusovsky, chairman, chief executive officer, and president of Quanterix. “Building on years of innovation and a proven track record for successfully commercializing ultrasensitive assays that disrupt markets and drive innovative breakthroughs forward, our p-tau 181 version 2 assay kit offers researchers unrivaled visibility and specificity into this revolutionary marker in serum and plasma. The exquisite sensitivity of Simoa uniquely positions us to deliver on the promise of p-tau 181 to pave new pathways in Alzheimer’s disease exploration.”

While deaths associated with other pervasive diseases such as heart disease have declined between 2000 and 2018, Alzheimer’s disease-related deaths have increased by 146%, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Currently, there is no objective test to diagnose the disorder, leading many physicians to rely solely on subjective cognitive assessments. As a result, many patients are not diagnosed until late in the disease’s progression, after symptoms of cognitive decline such as memory loss begin to present. Even then, the disease can often be misdiagnosed for another neurodegenerative condition, such as frontotemporal dementia.

Today, emerging research suggests that p-tau 181 could hold even greater diagnostic promise for Alzheimer’s disease, as it has proven capable of differentiating the condition from other forms of dementia.

“Early findings from our work with p-tau 181 are very encouraging,” says Kaj Blennow, MD, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and neurochemistry at the University of Gothenburg. “The biomarker is proving to be an exceptional new tool in our arsenal against Alzheimer’s disease. While cerebrospinal fluid p-tau 181 has been recognized as a highly valuable biomarker in Alzheimer’s disease pathology, the greater clinical benefit will come from our ability to effectively harness the marker in blood. The unprecedented specificity of p-tau 181 paired with a highly sensitive technology like Simoa promises to broaden our knowledge of this devastating disease considerably, with monumental implications for patients and caregivers.”

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1. Karikari TK, Pascoal TA, Ashton NJ, et al. Blood phosphorylated tau 181 as a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease: a diagnostic performance and prediction modeling study using data from four prospective cohorts. Lancet Neurol. 2020;19(5):422–433; doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30071-5.