CLN Article

Industry Profiles

Epic Sciences Forges Partnership with Six Pharma Companies

Epic Sciences has partnered with six pharmaceutical firms to employ the company's proprietary technology in a dozen clinical trials designed to measure 18 different protein or genomic tumor markers on circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Epic's technology analyzes all cells in a fluid sample rather than using the standard physical enrichment strategy, making it uniquely suited for identifying heterogeneous cancer cells. "By using Epic to molecularly characterize CTCs, our pharmaceutical partners are looking to improve the success rate, decrease the cost, and expedite commercial launch of their targeted therapies," said David Nelson, PhD, president and CEO of Epic. "Ultimately, of course, we hope that the biggest beneficiaries will be all of the patients whose individual outcomes are improved by personalized medicine guided by Epic's diagnostic products."

Michigan Health and IGC Create Nonprofit Genomics Support Company

The University of Michigan (U-M) and the International Genomics Consortium have entered a collaboration to launch the nonprofit company Paradigm. The new company will complement other U-M Health System genomic support services by providing whole gene and multi-gene sequencing and molecular diagnostic services to physicians and researchers. Specifically, the nonprofit will initially target oncologists, pathologists, academic medical centers, and clinical trial groups focused on personalized medicine. "Paradigm builds on our ever-increasing understanding of the interplay of multiple disease-causing genes and how this affects sensitivity to specific treatment regimens," said Robert Penny, Paradigm CEO and co-founder.

BD Buys Sirigen Group Limited

BD purchased polymer dye developer Sirigen Group Limited for an undisclosed amount. "We believe that the acquisition will enable us to develop a continuous cadence of novel, unique dyes and antibody specificity releases over the next two years, significantly expanding our life science research reagent portfolio," said Alberto Mas, president of BD. Sirigen's polymer technology could lead to the creation of dyes that are four to 10 times brighter than those currently available, and it has already been used to develop dyes for flow cytometry and other technologies.

American Esoteric Laboratories Relocates

American Esoteric Laboratories (AEL) has opened a larger facility in Knoxville, Tenn. with the aim of centralizing the operations of two of its smaller labs in the region. An independent provider of esoteric and clinical laboratory services, AEL hopes to better serve the Eastern Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky areas from this more accessible location. The new facility will help AEL process specimens and perform clinical analysis with greater efficiency, and will also offer a more comprehensive menu of clinical testing for clients, including same day/stat testing.

Regulus and Biogen Idec Collaborate to Find Multiple Sclerosis Biomarkers

Regulus Therapeutics and Biogen Idec have joined forces to identify micro-RNA biomarkers for multiple sclerosis (MS). Regulus COO and EVP of Finance, Garry E. Menzel, PhD, stated that this collaboration will allow the company to "further explore its proprietary microRNA biomarker platform with Biogen Idec's additional resources and expertise." Research shows perturbed microRNA expression in many disease states, which the companies hope to use for early-stage diagnosis of MS. Together, they plan to select optimal patient segments in clinical trials, develop companion diagnostics, and monitor disease progression or relapse with the microRNA markers.

OvaGene and Axela Enter Molecular Diagnostics Collaboration

OvaGene and Axela have formed a partnership to implement OvaGene's proprietary gene signatures on Axela's Ziplex platform designed to perform complex gene and protein expression assays. Through this collaboration, the two companies aim to help physicians select the most appropriate drugs for recurrent ovarian cancer treatment out of the more than 20 that are available. Each ovarian cancer drug currently has a low 12–15% response rate according to OvaGene chairman, Frank J. Kiesner. "When available, OvaGene's proprietary gene signature will provide physicians an opportunity to improve these response rates by personalizing drug selection," he said.