In This Issue...

Matrix-Bio Inks Deal With Purdue for Cancer Diagnostics

Matrix-Bio, Inc. has signed an exclusive, 1-year agreement with the Purdue Research Foundation for metabolite biomarker technology and eight patent applications, which the company will use to evaluate the commercial potential of cancer diagnostic tests. The technologies include metabolite biomarkers for detecting esophageal, liver, pancreatic, and colon cancer; identifying liver cancer in patients with hepatitis C; and predicting preoperative chemotherapy effectiveness for breast cancer treatment.

"Metabolite profiling is an emerging field of diagnostics that looks at the changes in small molecule biomarkers in cells. Patterns of these metabolite biomarkers in the blood are altered when cancer is present," explained Matrix-Bio CEO Eric Beier. "This technology identifies metabolic changes with very high sensitivity and specificity, and can detect various cancers in early, more treatable stages more accurately than currently available tests. Studies have also demonstrated that metabolite profiling can assist in monitoring cancer treatment."

The announcement comes on the heels of an exclusive global licensing and marketing agreement for metabolomic biomarkers that Matrix-Bio signed with Quest Diagnostics.

Quest Diagnostics and Hologic Team Up on Women's Health Tests

Quest Diagnostics and Hologic, Inc. announced a strategic alliance to more broadly offer testing based on Hologic's Aptima family of products, as well as to co-develop and promote advanced diagnostics focused on women's health.

Under a non-exclusive, 5-year deal, Quest will offer Hologic's assays for HPV, HPV genotyping, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and Trichomonas vaginalis. In addition, Quest will continue to use Hologic's line of ThinPrep liquid-based cytology products. Quest will also offer Hologic's Aptima HPV mRNA-based assay, which detects messenger RNA over-expressed from two viral oncogenes that are integral to the development of cervical cancer, including viral mRNA from 14 high-risk types of human papillomavirus in cervical specimens.

"This alliance will enhance the ability of Quest Diagnostics to deliver state-of-the-art testing methods and specialized expertise in women's health diagnostic information services," said Quest CEO Steve Rusckowski. "It builds on our long-standing successful relationship with Hologic to lead the way in delivering solutions that address the clinical challenges facing obstetricians and gynecologists in treating women. This collaboration also promises to increase the range of capabilities for advancing the health of women for both companies."

As part of the new agreement, the companies said they plan to implement joint programs to advance women's health issues with medical associations and patient advocacy groups and to sponsor research. Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.

Siemens to Create Companion Diagnostic for Janssen Heart Failure Drug

Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics announced a collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV to develop and commercialize a companion diagnostic test associated with an early-stage compound being developed by Janssen. The drug targets autoantibodies directed against the human ß1-adrenergic receptor that may contribute to the development of heart failure.

Under the agreement, Siemens will work with Janssen to design immunoassay-based tests for use in Janssen's clinical studies. In parallel, Siemens will develop and validate a test as a companion diagnostic for the Janssen therapeutic product. The companion diagnostic test will be broadly commercialized on Siemens' central laboratory automated immunoassay systems.

"Our relationship with Janssen marks an important next step in Siemens' personalized medicine strategy," said Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics CEO Michael Reitermann. "As a leading clinical diagnostics company, with the tools and technologies to help define the future of patient care, we are looking forward to collaborating with Janssen and extending their position in cardiac therapies."

Proteome Sciences, Fisher Scientific Sign Agreement on Cancer Tests

Proteome Sciences announced its largest contract to date, a $2.1 million technology agreement with Thermo Fisher Scientific to develop advanced methods to profile changes in key cancer pathways. Proteome Sciences will provide Thermo Fisher with access to its patents covering a three-stage mass spectrometry (MS3) fragmentation methodology to deliver significantly improved analysis and accuracy. Proteome Sciences will receive cash and Thermo Fisher will provide a no-cost lease for mass spectrometry equipment for Proteome Sciences to develop the pathway assays.

Proteome Sciences will continue to develop 20- and 30-plex Tandem Mass Tags (TMT) for Thermo Fisher. The new three-stage MS Tandem Mass Tag (MS3 TMT) mass spectrometry technique allows laboratories to determine relative quantitation of proteins in multiple samples simultaneously and with improved accuracy.

"We are at a critical juncture toward the development of personalized medicine that requires high-resolution maps of the protein networks regulating disease," said Proteome Sciences COO Ian Pike, PhD. "The combination of the highest sample multiplexing rates from TMT with the industry-leading Thermo Scientific Orbitrap mass spectrometer enables us to provide an unrivaled platform to investigate subtle but significant changes in the proteome." Under the agreement, Proteome Sciences will profile the low-level changes in activity of key cancer signaling pathways to facilitate optimal drug selection across a range of solid tumors. This will enable clinicians to provide real-time patient management.