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Augurex Announces Exclusive License Agreement with Quest Diagnostics for the Development of Arthritis Biomarker 14-3-3 eta as a Testing Service in the U.S.

Augurex Life Sciences Corp. recently announced that it has formed an exclusive license agreement with Quest Diagnostics, for the development of a clinical laboratory-developed testing service for the U.S. market, based on Augurex’s rheumatoid arthritis (RA) 14-3-3 eta biomarker. Quest Diagnostics is the world’s leading diagnostic testing company, and serves approximately half of the physicians and hospitals in the United States. Quest Diagnostics expects to launch the service in 2013. Additional terms were not disclosed.

New Pan-Canadian Terry Fox Research Institute Network Receives Close to $4-million to Find Better Tools to Treat Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third-leading cause of cancer-related death in Canadian men. Screening has enabled earlier diagnosis of prostate cancer, but with three out of four men actually diagnosed with a non-lethal form, should they all undergo the same treatment? A new pan-Canadian network of prostate cancer researchers formed by the Terry Fox Research Institute aims to address this need with approximately $4-million provided by the Terry Fox Foundation and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. The funding was announced recently at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM).

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.”

RayBiotech, Inc. Announces New Diagnostic Core Facility Partnering Program

RayBiotech, Inc. announced recently that it has formally launched a partnering program for select diagnostic core facilities at academic and government research institutes in the United States and Canada.

Time to Breathe a Sigh of Relief

British Columbia is facing a healthcare funding challenge and two of the major drivers contributing to it are emphysema and bronchitis, known together as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Exacerbations of COPD, or ‘lung attacks’, are currently the leading cause of emergency room visits and hospitalizations among chronic disease sufferers in BC, and across the country. Such lung attacks are also costly to the healthcare system, accounting for over $5.7 billion in direct, and $6.7 billion for indirect, healthcare costs every year in Canada.