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Archives for May 2012

NextGen Introduces New Generation Biomarker Products for Brain Disorder Diagnostics

NextGen Group Plc (AIM: NGG), an AIM listed company developing its own diagnostics product pipeline and providing diagnostic biomarker development services, announces the commercialisation of a new assay for the identification of diagnostic biomarkers in brain disorders.

Genedata and Roche Extend Collaboration of Biomarker Discovery for Personalized Healthcare

Genedata, a leading provider of advanced software solutions for drug discovery and life science research, recently announced that Roche renewed the licensing agreement of Genedata Expressionist for Mass Spectrometry. Genedata Expressionist is a comprehensive, enterprise-level system for omics data management. Roche will use the system to target molecular pathways and validate novel biomarkers in the field of proteomics. Genedata Expressionist for Mass Spectrometry will be shown at the 60th ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry at the Vancouver Convention Centre (May 20 – 24; Suite #16).

Early Biomarker for Pancreatic Cancer Identified

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center have identified a new biomarker and therapeutic target for pancreatic cancer, an often-fatal disease for which there is currently no reliable method for early detection or therapeutic intervention. The paper will be published May 15 in Cancer Research.

New US Patent Grant for ValiRx’s Cancer Screening Gene Biomarker

ValiRx Plc (AIM: VAL), a life science company with a focus on cancer diagnostics and therapeutics for personalised medicine, is pleased to announce that a method for cancer screening, using specific gene biomarkers in the field of genetics and oncology, has recently received patent approval by the United States’ patent office.

The granting of this latest patent means that ValiRx now has biomarker patent protection in both the US and across Europe, alongside granted and pending patents for its therapeutic technologies across Europe, the US, Canada and Australia.

This latest patent concerns the method or process by which gene biomarkers can be used in the detection or identification of a patient’s susceptibility to cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) and also for improving treatment methods.

The use of biomarkers in oncology therapeutics is one of the fastest growing areas in cancer diagnosis and monitoring. In combination with specific therapeutic approaches, it is the growth of personalised medicine, particularly in cancer research, alongside support from regulatory agencies that are the key factors behind the increase in demand for biomarkers.

Personalised therapeutics are gaining popularity due to their ability to provide customised treatment to patients based on their genetic and medical profile. Since biomarkers help in predicting patient response to a compound, personalised medicines are increasingly using biomarkers to identify the patient population set that is more likely to respond to a particular drug therapy. Personalised medicines are also increasingly being used along with targeted cancer therapies and as personalised medicines gain more importance and popularity, the demand for suitable companion biomarkers is also expected to increase.

Dr Satu Vainikka, CEO, commented: “I am delighted we have received the US patent office’s approval for our gene biomarkers’ activity. This grant significantly strengthens our patent portfolio and it is a particularly pleasing endorsement, coming as it does from under the rigorous scrutiny of the US patent authorities. I am very pleased by the continuing validation of our technologies and of our approach to therapeutics and biomarkers themselves and I believe this patent grant further underlines the importance of a genetic approach to the management and detection of oncological diseases.”

Thermo Fisher Scientific Acquires All Rights for Pre-eclampsia Biomarker from Nephromics

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, today announced it has signed an asset purchase agreement with Nephromics LLC, which includes a patent license for exclusive rights to use PlGF (Placental Growth Factor) for the diagnosis of pre-eclampsia or eclampsia. Clinical trials have shown that PlGF supports the diagnosis and risk prediction for preeclampsia (PE). Thermo Fisher will develop PlGF as an immunoassay on its own KRYPTOR™ platform and, through management of several sublicenses under the acquired license, will strengthen its global position in prenatal screening by expanding the availability of the assay through license partners.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), PE occurs in up to 8 percent of pregnancies worldwide and is a life-threatening disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Pre-eclampsia and related disorders such as HELLP syndrome and eclampsia are most often characterized by a rapid rise in blood pressure that can lead to seizure, stroke, multiple organ failure and death of the mother and/or baby. Global health care costs for pre-eclampsia are estimated to be $3 billion per year. Current methods for identification of pre-eclampsia – regular measurements of blood pressure and protein testing in the urine during routine prenatal visits – deliver PE diagnoses after the condition has reached an advanced status.

“The measurement of maternal serum PlGF at 11-13 weeks of gestation is essential in providing an excellent screening test both for chromosomal defects and for pre-eclampsia,” said Kypros Nicolaides, professor of Fetal Medicine at Harris Birthright Research Centre for Fetal Medicine, King’s College Hospital, London, UK, and Department of Fetal Medicine, University College Hospital, London, UK, and founder of Fetal Medicine Foundation (FMF). “Early identification of the pregnancies at high risk for PE gives the option for therapeutic interventions with such drugs as low-dose aspirin, which substantially reduces the prevalence of the disease.”

“Taking into account the fatal consequences of pre-eclampsia, an assay for testing PlGF may offer a much better outcome for patients with this disorder,” said Andy Thomson, president of the Thermo Fisher’s Specialty Diagnostics business. “Levels of PlGF in patients with PE are significantly lower than in non-preeclamptic pregnancies. This test is an additional tool in PE screening and will help identify women at risk earlier and, therefore, support therapy management.”

The addition of this PlGF assay is a complement to Thermo Fisher’s already existing prenatal screening portfolio (PAPP-A, Free βhCG, AFP, hCG+β, Fast Screen pre I plus software) and ongoing research and development activities in that field. Market entry for the new assay PlGF is planned for the first quarter of 2013.

Source: Thermo Fisher Scientific