June 2008 Clinical Laboratory News: Industry Profiles

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June 2008: Volume 34, Number 6

Lung Cancer Prognosis Test in the Works

Med BioGene (Vancouver, B.C.) and the University Health Network (UHN), a three-hospital consortium that includes Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, and Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, announced a licensing agreement that gives Med BioGene exclusive worldwide rights to commercialize a prognostic test for early stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Called LungExpress Dx, the test, originally developed by UHN researchers, is a gene expression-based assay that determines a patient’s prognosis for survival to guide chemotherapy decisions. “This test has the potential to make an immediate impact upon patient care by providing a more significant understanding of each patient’s cancer, thus resulting in better-informed, more appropriate treatment decisions,” said Frances Shepherd, MD, one of the leaders of the UHN team of researchers that developed the assay. “We are moving much closer to the goal of personalized medicine.” The UHN team published results of their research in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (2007; 25: 5562–5569).

Beckman Coulter Licenses Rights to Siemens HCV Test

Beckman Coulter announced that it has licensed HCV testing rights from Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics. Under the deal, Beckman Coulter plans to develop, manufacture, and sell a quantitative viral load HCV blood test for use on a new Beckman Coulter analyzer that’s still under development. “Our access to this intellectual property will expand the served market for our ‘sample-to-result’ molecular diagnostics system, expected to launch in 2010,” said Scott Garrett, CEO of Beckman Coulter. “Routine molecular testing is the fastest growing segment in clinical diagnostics and represents an important part of our growth strategy. The addition of HCV will enhance our infectious disease test menu while furthering our dedication to improving patient health and reducing the cost of care.” Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

TrimGen, Spartan Partner on Real-Time PCR Analysis

TrimGen (Sparks, Md.) announced a deal with Ottawa, Ontario-based Spartan Bioscience to develop real-time PCR reagents and kits that will run on the Spartan DX instrument. “The Spartan DX is a new instrument in the realm of molecular diagnostics. The key attributes of all Spartan products are that they are fast, affordable and easy-to-use,” said Paul Lem, PhD, CEO of Spartan Bioscience. “With the addition of optimized real-time PCR assays from TrimGen, our customers will have the industry’s leading on-demand real-time PCR platform combined with TrimGen’s PCR kits.” The deal is based on a memorandum of understanding framework, with undisclosed financial terms.

Microchip Biotechnologies Inks License Deal with GE Healthcare

Five-year-old Microchip Biotechnologies (MBI), a privately held company located in Dublin, Calif., announced a multi-patent license agreement with GE Healthcare for intellectual property that can be used for developing lab-on-a-chip devices. The patents cover design and methods for creating integrated fluidic microchips. “Microfluidic devices will play a critical role in next-generation instrumentation that delivers fully-automated, cost-effective bioassay solutions in the life sciences, applied sciences, and molecular diagnostics,” said Stevan Jovanovich, PhD, CEO of MBI. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Agilent, Agendia to Jointly Develop Tests

Agendia BV and Agilent Technologies announced a collaboration on new microarray tests. Agilent makes the microarrays for Agendia’s MammaPrint test, the first IVDMIA microarray-based test cleared by the FDA last February to help physicians tailor treatment for breast cancer. “We eagerly anticipate expanding our role beyond the manufacturing of Agendia products on the Agilent microarrays to helping them build validated diagnostic cancer tests, as well as developing and expanding the company’s worldwide distribution channels,” said Yvonne Linney, PhD, vice president and general manager of genomics at Agilent. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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