NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – LabCorp has obtained an exclusive license granting it access to MGMT methylation-related IP technology developed by the molecular diagnostics company OncoMethylome Sciences, the companies announced today.
The move will allow LabCorp to do commercial MGMT methylation laboratory testing in the US and Canada, with limited exceptions. OncoMethylome also named LabCorp’s Esoterix Clinical Trials Services Division as one of its preferred subcontractors for clinical trial MGMT methylation testing services.
Under the agreement, LabCorp will provide an upfront fee, milestone payments, and royalties to OncoMethylome. Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Methylation is a chemical modification that influences gene expression. In certain situations, gene silencing by aberrant methylation is associated with cancer development and progression. OncoMethylome’s products, which are based on technology developed at Johns Hopkins University, are sensitive tools used to detect such methylation.
Specifically, LabCorp intends to use OncoMethylome’s methylation-specific PCR technology to test the methylation status of MGMT, a gene coding for a DNA repair protein. MGMT is often methylated in cancerous cells and its methylation may even predict a patient’s response to some cancer treatments.
For instance, in those with malignant brain tumors, MGMT methylation seems to predict patient response to alkylating agent-based chemotherapy, said OncoMethylome. Consequently, the predictive properties of MGMT methylation are also being tested in several clinical trials of brain and other cancers.
“Laboratory tests for gene methylation are an important and differentiating addition to our menu of oncology services and allow us to offer a more complete package of services to oncologist and their patients,” LabCorp Executive Vice President, Medical Director, and CSO Myla Lai-Goldman said in a statement.