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GE Healthcare Licenses Genomic Biomarker for Lung Cancer from Insight Genetics

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Clarient Diagnostic Services, Inc., a GE Healthcare company, and molecular diagnostics company Insight Genetics, Inc., today announced a worldwide licensing agreement for intellectual property from Insight Genetics, granting Clarient rights to develop a genetic test covering the ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) biomarker, a promising target for several classes of cancer drugs.

As a result of the Agreement, Clarient intends to develop and evaluate the performance characteristics of a quantitative PCR-based test that detects increased transcription of the ALK gene. Rearrangements involving the ALK gene are implicated in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and other cancers. Several therapeutics compounds, known as ALK inhibitors, are in clinical trials and one, Xalkori®, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since only patients with ALK fusions are likely to respond to ALK inhibitors, accurate diagnostic screening is essential before prescribing ALK-targeted drugs.

“The National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines now suggest ALK testing as a standard measure for all non-small cell lung cancer patients due to the development of therapies targeting ALK inhibition,” said Kenneth J. Bloom, MD, chief medical officer of Clarient. “Our agreement with Insight Genetics is another example of our mission of translating biomarker discovery to aid the development of new therapeutics and to assist physicians in determining the eligibility of their patients to receive the most appropriate therapy.”

“Insight and Clarient share a dedication to enhancing personalized cancer care,” said Eric Dahlhauser, Chairman and CEO of Insight Genetics. “We’re pleased to work with Clarient, a leader in cancer diagnostics with a strong commitment to developing tests that address targeted therapies, toward advancing this common goal.”

In addition to the proven role it plays in select lung cancers, ALK has been found to have a pathogenic role in many cancers including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor, esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, colorectal cancer and breast cancer. It is estimated that more than 250,000 new cancer diagnoses in the U.S. each year can be linked to ALK mutations and fusions.

A commitment to cancer

Building on its 50 years in the oncology space, in September 2011 GE, through healthymagination, announced a new commitment to take cancer research, diagnostics and treatment to the next level. The company committed to accelerate cancer innovation by investing $1 billion in cancer technology research and development as well as improve care for 10 million cancer patients around the world by 2020.

In tandem with that announcement, GE and several partners launched a $100 million open innovation cancer challenge, an open call to action seeking ideas to accelerate early detection and enable more personalized treatment for breast cancer. GE and its venture capital partners pledged up to $100 million to fund breakthrough ideas that help healthcare professionals better understand triple negative cancer pathways, and the molecular similarities between breast cancer and other solid tumors.

The challenge garnered more than 500 ideas from 40 countries, sparking robust conversations among more than 200 academic institutions and researchers on the Challenge’s open innovation platform. In March 2012 the first five innovation award winners were announced. The five innovation award winners have the potential to help doctors find cancer earlier, make more accurate diagnoses and choose the best possible treatment based on each patient’s unique cancer.

Source: Business Wire