This Week In Diagnostics

Horizon Discovery and H3 Biomedicine collaborate on personalized medicines

Horizon Discovery and H3 Biomedicine say they have entered into a collaboration agreement to identify and validate a panel of novel cancer drug targets. They plan to perform target-validation experiments identifying critical cancer genome targets whose modulation will have meaningful clinical effect. H3 Biomedicine will carry out early target discovery through pre-clinical research, while Horizon will implement its three core drug discovery tools to run alongside and support H3 Biomedicine’s discovery biology and chemistry capabilities. The goal will be to rapidly come to definitive decisions on whether or not to progress novel targets into development. Eisai Inc., which is partnered with H3 Biomedicine, will conduct any resulting clinical trials.

H3 Biomedicine will have an exclusive option to acquire ownership of all program assets and intellectual property that relates to each of the target programs, with the exception of Horizon background IP. Horizon will retain commercial rights over any target program not optioned by H3 Biomedicine. Horizon will receive an initial upfront investment and further milestone payments as pre-clinical and clinical milestones are reached.


Roche launches assays for blood cancer

Roche has launched their GS GType TET2/CBL/KRAS and the GS GType RUNX1 primer sets for comprehensive genetic variation detection in four key human genes using the company’s 454 GS Junior and GS FLX systems. The sequence-based assays offer cancer researchers tools for investigating the human TET2, CBL, KRAS and RUNX1 genes, which are known to be associated with developmental defects, disease progression, and residual disease in a variety of leukemias and myeloid malignancies. The assays enable deep sequencing of PCR amplicons covering key exon regions and have been co-developed with and extensively tested at the MLL Munich Leukemia Laboratory in Munich, Germany (


Luminex receives CE Mark for newborn screening platform

Luminex (NASDAQ: LMNX) reports that it has received CE marking of both their xMAP NeoPlex4 assay and NeoPlex® system that provides four assays for newborn screening. The NeoPlex4 assay simultaneously tests four analytes, T4, TSH, 17OHP and total IRT, which can be indicators of congenital hypothyroidism, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and cystic fibrosis. Each of these conditions can cause severe mental and physical disability if untreated. If detected early through testing, effective treatment can be initiated.


Neogen molecular pathogen test

Neogen (Nasdaq: NEOG) says that it has developed the quickest test system to definitively detect pathogen DNA in food and environmental samples. Their ANSR™ for Salmonella will provide results after only 10 minutes of reaction time. Neogen’s ANSR is an isothermal amplification reaction test method that exponentially amplifies the DNA of any bacteria present in food and environmental samples to detectable levels.


Test for ALS

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX) is reporting the launch of a new genetic testing service from its Athena Diagnostics business unit for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  The company says that it is the first clinically available testing service for detecting hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the C9orf72 gene. Research published in the April 2012 issue of The Lancet found that this C9orf72 mutation was present in up to 39% of familial (inherited) ALS cases examined, and between 4-8% in sporadic (no known family history) cases, in a multi-national study population. The test is offered to aid in the diagnosis of familial and sporadic ALS. In addition, research suggests the hexanucleotide repeat expansion of the C9orf72 gene is also associated with familial and sporadic Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the second most common form of early-onset dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.


MDxHealth and PLUS Diagnostics sign US marketing agreement

MDxHealth SA (NYSE Euronext: MDXH) and PLUS Diagnostics say that they have entered into an agreement to co-promote MDxHealth’s ConfirmMDx™ a test for prostate cancer in the United States.

ConfirmMDx for Prostate Cancer is a laboratory-developed test performed at MDxHealth’s Irvine, California laboratory that assists urologists with identifying men who may safely forego unnecessary repeat biopsies.


Research project looks to develop biomarkers for cancer diagnostics

Denator AB (Gothenburg, Sweden) reports that a joint research project with the Erasmus Medical Center and Amsterdam Medical Center is focused on developing a new biomarker discovery platform for cancer diagnostics, The research will key on the development and verification of a prototype platform to monitor specific protein/peptide degradation patterns in biological fluids and tissue sections using Denator’s proprietary heat-stabilization technology combined with an array of synthetic peptides. Since degradation patterns are specific for different tissue types and also for specific diseases, this novel approach could enable the discovery of completely new disease markers to enable early cancer diagnosis.

-Peter Winter

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