Quantcast

Industry news that matters to you.  Learn more

Ganymed Pharmaceuticals Announces CE Marking for Test to Assess Claudin-18.2 Expression in Solid Tumors

Ganymed Pharmaceuticals announced today that it has fully developed and obtained CE marking for its in vitro diagnostic (IVD) test CLAUDETECTTM18.2 which allows to assess the expression levels of Claudin-18.2 (CLDN18.2) in solid tumors. CLAUDETECTTM18.2, which was developed in collaboration with Theracode GmbH, is now compliant with the requirements of European Community Directive 98/79/EC on in vitro diagnostic medical devices.

New Test for Cancer Researchers Targets Important Tumor-suppressor Protein

As researchers push to develop more customized diagnostics and therapies for solid tumor cancers, they demand increasingly sensitive tests that offer reliable, reproducible analysis. Spring Bioscience, Inc. (Spring) recently announced a new addition to its specialized portfolio of valuable antibodies for cancer research with the introduction of the Anti-PTEN (SP218) rabbit monoclonal immunohistochemistry (IHC) antibody.

PTEN is a common protein found in most tissues of the body. The protein acts as part of a critical cell signaling pathway that tells cells to stop dividing, helping to prevent uncontrolled cell growth that can lead to the formation of tumors. Mutations in the PTEN gene, together with other factors resulting in loss of PTEN protein, are a step in the development of many human cancers, including prostate and colon cancer. PTEN mutations are also believed to be the cause of a variety of inherited predispositions to cancer.

“With SP218, we’re seeking to set a new gold standard across the industry by offering an extremely sensitive, highly specific antibody optimized for IHC testing that will allow researchers and pathologists to interpret PTEN status with utmost confidence,” says Spring General Manager Michael Rivers. “For our customers, this means we’re continuing to offer unparalleled value through superior tests that lead the market in innovation, reliability and quality.”

Spring internal comparison studies demonstrated that SP218 provides more accurate, sensitive, and specific detection compared to similar research use only (RUO) tests on the market today.

Samples from more than 100 cases of primary prostate and colon cancer showed 100 percent concordance for PTEN loss among Spring’s SP218 and the leading commercially-available PTEN RUO tests; however, competitor tests exhibited some undesirable non-specific staining in IHC testing, while SP218 demonstrated highly specific staining in cells with and without PTEN expression.

“SP218’s robust and consistent performance with IHC analysis is particularly important given PTEN’s potential as a companion diagnostic biomarker,” adds Rivers. “Spring Bioscience is owned by Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., a member of the Roche group, and serves as an Antibody Center of Excellence for Roche’s companion diagnostics development to advance our goal for Personalized Healthcare.”

“Several pharma partners have embraced SP218 as their go-to antibody for PTEN IHC and are including it in their clinical trials as a potential companion diagnostic,” says Doug Ward, VP and Lifecycle Leader, Ventana Companion Diagnostics. “In addition, the Ventana Translational Diagnostics CAP/CLIA Laboratory is now using SP218 as their preferred RUO test for PTEN protein expression.”

Spring is known across the research industry for its quality development practices and for delivering a consistent supply of highly-specific antibodies. SP218 meets the company’s high standards as a valuable tool for assessing PTEN loss.

Source: Spring Bioscience

Fluidigm and Olink Bioscience Bring a New Level of Protein Biomarker Discovery to the Life Science Research Market

Fluidigm and Olink Bioscience have teamed up to enable interrogation of 96 samples across 92 proteins in a single run from one microliter of sample in less than a day.

The two companies will co-market the combination of their respective products — Fluidigm’s BioMarkTM HD System and Olink Bioscience’s Proseek® Multiplex technology — bringing protein research to the Fluidigm platform and Olink Bioscience’s protein detection assays to the high-throughput, high reproducibility and unparalleled sensitivity realm of Fluidigm’s real-time PCR system.

Fluidigm’s BioMark HD System and Olink Bioscience’s Proseek Multiplex technologies provide researchers with the highest throughput multiplexing solution for protein biomarker discovery in the market today. Typically, researchers are limited to working with a few tens-of-protein biomarkers at a time. Using the BioMark HD System with the Proseek Multiplex Oncology I 96×96 Kit, a researcher can simultaneously analyze 96 human samples against a panel of 92 analytes, such as growth factors, inflammatory markers, soluble receptors, or cancer antigens. With the addition of four control analytes (two incubation controls, and extension and detection controls), researchers can now obtain results for up to 9,216 reactions in just a few hours.

The first 92-plex Olink panel, available now, is focused on biomarker discovery for cancer. Panels addressing cardiovascular disease and inflammation are expected to be offered later this year.

“Protein research is so important because these biomarkers are used to monitor health states and predict treatment outcomes in patients. One of the biggest trends in the life sciences industry today is research to uncover biomarkers that can lead to companion diagnostics,” said Simon Fredriksson, Olink Bioscience president and chief executive officer. “Conventional immunoassays have been unable to scale due to increasing antibody cross-reactivity when more and more assays are run simultaneously. Olink’s Proseek Multiplex generates high quality data even in highly multiplexed formats, and using these assays in conjunction with Fluidigm’s BioMark HD System gives protein researchers easy access to unprecedented volume and quality of data.”

The Olink Bioscience assay provides a signal when pairs of antibodies equipped with DNA reporter molecules bind to their targets to create new DNA amplicons. The amplicons are subsequently quantified by high throughput real-time PCR. With PCR’s large dynamic range and superb sensitivity, in combination with Olink Bioscience’s unique protein detection assays, the opportunities are enormous for powerful analysis of multivariate biomarker patterns.

“Analyzing 92 proteins from one microliter of sample enables new biomarker discovery and validation,” said Gajus Worthington, Fluidigm president and chief executive officer. “Many sample sources, including those from biorepositories or model organisms, are limited, and researchers can simply run out before they are able to find useful biomarker panels. The combination of Fluidigm’s BioMark HD System and Olink’s Proseek Multiplex assay represents a robust new tool for the protein research community.”

Fluidigm’s BioMark HD System is a multi-application genomics and proteomics platform that provides results equivalent to the gold standards for every respective experimental approach. The system produces high-quality data from RNA, miRNA and DNA from sample sizes down to the single cell level — and now extends to proteins. The BioMark HD System performs analysis of protein expression, gene expression, copy number variation, SNP genotyping, and digital PCR.

Olink Bioscience’s Proseek Multiplex is a multivariate protein biomarker detection kit based on Olink’s proprietary Proximity Extension Assay (PEA). It uniquely allows multiplexing of immunoassays without compromising assay performance. PEA uses pairs of oligonucleotide-labeled antibodies equipped with DNA reporter molecules to bind to proteins of interest in a highly specific manner, solving the antibody cross-reactivity dilemma that plagues and limits conventional protein assays.

Source: Business Wire

University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Licensing Deals Fuel Local Life Sciences Community

University of Maryland (UM) Ventures recently announced agreements between University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and five different life sciences companies across the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan region. The companies include Montgomery County-based Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Baltimore County-based Plasmonix, Prince Georges County-based IGI Technologies, Howard County-based A&G Pharmaceuticals, and Frederick County-based BioAssay Works. These deals are part of UM Ventures’ continual efforts to accelerate technology commercialization, advance industry collaboration, and support projects with commercial value at both the Baltimore and College Park campuses of the university.

“UMB is very excited to collaborate with these companies, each an innovator in its own right,” said Phil Robilotto, Assistant Vice President, Office of Technology Transfer, UMB. “These types of collaborations are at the core of our mission to channel the expertise of our industry partners and highlight our efforts to support the Maryland biotechnology community.”

UMB/Rexahn Exclusive License Agreement: In June 2013, UMB and Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing the next generation of cancer drugs, executed an exclusive license agreement for a novel drug delivery platform, Nano-Polymer-Drug Conjugate Systems (NPDCS), which was co-developed by researchers with the University of Maryland (UM) School of Pharmacy in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, including Assistant Professor Anjan Nan, Ph.D. Rexahn’s platform uses existing chemotherapeutic agents, delivering them directly into cancer tumors. The UMB/Rexahn collaboration began after the company and a team of UMB researchers received a Maryland
Industrial Partnership (MIPS) award. The MIPS program is aimed at technology acceleration, providing funds that are matched by Maryland companies to support university-based research.

UMB/Plasmonix License Agreement: Also in June 2013, UMB entered into a license agreement with Plasmonix for a pathogen detection technology. Plasmonix focuses on the enhancement of luminescent signals through advanced use of metal nanoparticles, applying its technology in life science and diagnostic assays. Joseph Lakowicz, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology within the UM School of Medicine, invented the licensed UMB technology. His laboratory focuses on advancement of fluorescence compositions and methods for use in both research and commercial applications.

UMB Option Agreements with IGI Technologies/A&G Pharmaceuticals: UMB also executed option agreements (giving each company the exclusive right to evaluate a university technology for a short period of time prior to executing a full license agreement) during June 2013 with IGI Technologies and A&G Pharmaceuticals, both university start-ups, although at different stages of company development. Founded by Raj Shekhar, Ph.D., and William Plishker, Ph.D., former UM School of Medicine researchers from the Department of Diagnostic Radiology, IGI Technologies is an emerging start-up developing high-speed medical image registration technology through a Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A&G Pharmaceuticals, which was founded as a UMB startup in 2007, is discovering and developing theranostics (drug/test combinations) that improve screening, detection, and treatment of cancer. The company also offers custom antibody development through its service division – Precision AntibodyTM. UMB’s option agreement with A&G Pharmaceuticals is to explore the potential for the company’s development of a new cancer diagnostic test based on the tissue biomarker research of lead inventor Yun Qiu, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology, UM School of Medicine.

UMB/BioAssay Works Commercial Evaluation and Option Agreement: In September 2012, UMB entered into a commercial evaluation and option agreement with BioAssay Works to evaluate a Staph aureus diagnostic technology based on the work of lead inventor, Mark E. Shirtliff, Associate Professor, Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, with a dual appointment in UM Schools of Dentistry and Medicine. Dr. Shirtliff studies bacterial biofilms, a mode of growth where pathogens such as Staph aureus become resistant to conventional therapy. He was
awarded the 2013 BioMaryland LIFE Prize for his promising Staph vaccine work. BioAssay Works focuses on antibody-based and antigen-based detection technologies, and on their application in lateral-flow immunoassay. The partnership between BioAssay Works and UMB may lead to the development of a rapid and sensitive test for Staph, in particular the treatment-resistant type (“MRSA”).

Since UM Ventures launched in 2012, the University has helped faculty entrepreneurs manage and commercialize their discoveries, and has helped student entrepreneurs participate in and lead real-world early-stage business ventures. UMB and UMCP startups include a wide range of success stories. UM Ventures provides resources, funding, and expertise to help startups bring innovative technologies to the market.

Source: University of Maryland

ITN Type 1 Diabetes Study Identifies Subset of Patients with Strong Response to Therapy

Primary results from a new clinical trial show that patients with type 1 diabetes treated with the monoclonal antibody teplizumab (MacroGenics, Inc.) exhibit greater preservation of C-peptide, a biomarker of islet cell function, compared to controls. Further analyses identified a discrete subset of the treatment group that demonstrated especially robust responses (“responders”), suggesting that these patients could be identified prior to treatment. The trial, entitled “Autoimmunity-Blocking Antibody for Tolerance in Recently Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes” (AbATE), was conducted by the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN). The results are available online and will be published in the November issue of the journal Diabetes.

The AbATE study, led by Kevan Herold, MD (Yale University), tested teplizumab, which targets the CD3 receptor found on T cells, in patients with new-onset type 1 diabetes. CD3 is required for T-cell activation, which can lead to the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells. A previous ITN study with teplizumab showed that a single course of the drug slowed C-peptide decline in new-onset patients for a year, after which the effects waned. The aim of the AbATE study was to test whether C-peptide preservation could be prolonged by administering two courses of teplizumab, one year apart.

In this open-label, Phase II study, 77 new-onset patients (ages 8 to 30 years old) were randomized to receive either teplizumab or a control. Those in the treatment arm received the scheduled treatment consisting of two 14-day courses of teplizumab, one year apart. Both arms received intensive diabetes care from certified diabetes educators and were followed for two years. The primary endpoint compared C-peptide preservation between the two groups.

After two years, the teplizumab-treated group showed significantly greater preservation of C-peptide (75-percent higher responses compared to the control group).

Further analysis revealed that within the treatment arm two groups of patients could be distinguished based on their C-peptide levels: one group, considered “responders” (22/49), showed very little C-peptide decline over the course of the study (only a 6 percent reduction from baseline), while the “non-responders” (27/49) exhibited a similar rate of C-peptide decline as the control group (less than 40-percent reduction from baseline).

Investigators measured various biomarkers and cell types that might distinguish between these two groups. They found that, at trial entry, “responders” had lower hemoglobin A1c levels (a marker of glucose concentration in the blood) and used less insulin at baseline, compared to “non-responders”. Differences in specific T-cell subsets also distinguished between the two groups at baseline, suggesting that immune status might contribute to drug responsiveness. However, further studies will be required to confirm these results.

“This overall approach to identifying characteristics of individuals most likely to respond to therapies shows great promise because the responders in this study experienced a robust and prolonged drug effect,” said Dr. Herold. “This type of response has not been seen in other studies of immune therapies.”

Type 1 diabetes is a disease marked by immune destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. New-onset patients usually have 20 to 40 percent of their normal beta cell mass remaining, which is still capable of producing insulin. Preserving this remaining mass, even temporarily, could improve long-term clinical outcomes.

Immune modulators, like teplizumab, represent a promising means of inducing tolerance; however, no drug has been shown to prevent or reverse disease, and only a few have temporarily delayed disease progression. The ability to identify a subgroup of patients who may be more responsive to therapy could greatly enhance the clinical use of immune modulators and improve outcomes for those patients. Further analyses with specimens collected from the AbATE study are ongoing to understand the mechanism of response.

Source: EurekAlert!