January 2009: Volume 35, Number 1
Fluidigm Licenses Methods for Detecting Fetal DNA in Plasma
A novel combination of fecal protein biomarkers demonstrated higher sensitivity and specificity than iFOBT alone in detecting colorectal cancer. If validated in further studies, use of these markers could help improve compliance with and accuracy of colorectal cancer screening programs (Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2008; 6:1122–1128). The goal of the study was to improve early detection of CRC in stool samples. iFOBT assays are more effective than guaiac-based FOBT, but still miss about one-third of cancer cases.
Fluidigm announced that it has acquired co-exclusive licenses to Stanford University inventions used in detecting fetal genetic characteristics in maternal plasma, including digital PCR and high-throughput sequencing. These licenses cover a method that counts chromosomes by finding trace amounts of fetal DNA in a pregnant woman’s blood, a technique originally published by the Stanford researchers. Researchers believe this less invasive technique could be used to diagnose aneuploidy earlier.
Affymetrix to Acquire Panomics
Affymetrix has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Panomics, a privately held company that offers assay products for a variety of genetic, protein, and cellular analysis applications. This acquisition is intended to strengthen Affymetrix’s position in high-growth validation and routine testing market segments, while also enabling whole-genome Affymetrix microarray studies that focus on genes and proteins of interest within Panomics products.
DxS and Amgen to Provide KRAS Companion Diagnostic
DxS, a personalized medicine company operating out of Manchester, England, has signed an agreement with Amgen to provide a KRAS companion diagnostic for Vectibix (panitumumab) in the U.S. The drug is used to treat metastatic colorectal cancer patients with wild-type KRAS status. DxS intends to use its TheraScreen: KRAS Mutation Kit as a companion diagnostic in conjunction with Vectibix, pending FDA approval.