NEW YORK, Jan. 27-Berlin-based Epigenomics has secured rights to DNA methylation research from Johns Hopkins University and to a DNA-based tumor detection method from the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, the company said today.
Johns Hopkins University granted the company an exclusive worldwide license to a set of methods to detect cancer through genomic imprinting, an epigenetic phenomenon in which parental origin controls gene expression. JHU's Andrew Feinberg has studied the loss of imprinting in cancer, identifying CpG-rich areas of the genome that are unmethylated in cancerous cells. Epigenomics will use this knowledge to try to develop assays that detect the disease at early stages. Feinberg has also joined the company's scientific advisory board.
From the Australian CSIRO's Division of Molecular Science, the company has obtained an option agreement for the research institute's "headloop" assay that distinguishes tumor DNA from normal DNA in the blood.
The CSIRO's Susan Clark, who has developed a method to detect methylation in DNA, has also joined the company's board of scientific advisors.
Epigenomics is focused on developing methylation detection technologies for the early stage detection of cancer. It has a subsidiary in Seattle, Wash.
For further information, see the company news release.