This Week In Diagnostics

Healthy revenue growth for diagnostics companies

Healthy revenue growth for diagnostics companies could be an indication that the economy is on an upswing. GenMark Diagnostics, for example, reported a 90 percent year-over-year increase in total revenue in their third quarter of 2011. The company supplies automated, multiplex molecular diagnostic testing systems that detect and measure DNA and RNA targets to diagnose disease and optimize patient treatment.  The healthy rise in revenues was attributed to an increase in the number of systems in the field and a significant increase in the number of tests sold.

Molecular diagnostics company,  Myriad Genetics, in its first fiscal quarter ending September 30, 2011, also reported a 20 percent increase in revenues compared to the same period last year and the company expects total revenue to range between $445 million and $465 million for fiscal year 2012.

NanoString closes financing

NanoString Technologies has reported that it has closed a $20 million Series D round of equity financing. Participating in the round were new investors GE, BioMed Ventures and Henri Termeer, former Chairman and CEO of Genzyme Corp. All previous venture investors in NanoString also participated, including Clarus Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and OVP Venture Partners. The proceeds, the company says, will be used to continue the growth of its life science tools business, as well as advance the development of a breast cancer assay based on the PAM50 gene expression signature. Results from the first clinical study evaluating NanoString’s breast cancer assay will be presented at the 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) on December 8.

Hepatitis B test receive CE Mark

Abbott says that it has received the CE Mark to market a new diagnostic test for detection of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in the European Union. The ARCHITECT HBsAg Qualitative II assay is intended to be used as an aid in the diagnosis of HBV infection and as a screening test for donated blood and plasma using the company’s ARCHITECT immunochemistry system. It provides qualitative detection of HBsAg, which is the first serological marker after infection with HBV and appears in the blood between one to 10 weeks after exposure to the virus.

Collaboration targets detection of pancreatic cancer

Oxford, UK-based Oxford Gene Technology (OGT) reports that it has entered into a collaborative agreement with Abcodia (London, UK), a specialist company engaged in the validation and discovery of biomarkers of cancer and other age-related diseases, aimed at improving the early detection of pancreatic cancer. Abcodia will provide access to its large prospective serum biobank, to harness samples taken from individuals up to seven years before the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. For their part OGT will apply its functional protein array platform and its Genefficiency™ microRNA profiling array to identify pancreatic cancer specific biomarkers that can be used as diagnostic indicators of developing pancreatic cancer.

Partnership aims at developing new toolbox of targeted therapies

Horizon Discovery Ltd. (Cambridge, UK), a provider of research tools to support the development of personalized medicines, says that it has entered into a strategic partnership agreement with Promega.

The companies will focus on the development of next-generation predictive human disease models, recapitulating genetic mutations exactly as they occur in patient tumors, thereby enabling the elucidation of protein expression and protein-protein interactions encoded by those mutations.

The partnership will center on the delivery of gene reporting capabilities, in the form of Promega’s luciferase and HaloTag® reporter technologies, using Horizon’s recombination-based precision genome editing technology (rAAV GENESIS™).


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