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Roche Signs Epigenomics for Cancer Diagnostic, Prognostic Collaboration

NEW YORK, March 18 - Roche and Epigenomics announced today a three-year collaboration to develop molecular diagnostic and pharmacagenomic assays for cancer that use Epigenomics' DNA methylation technologies.


Under the agreement, Roche will pay Epigenomics, of Seattle, Euro 4 million ($4.25 million), as well as R&D funding, milestone payments, and royalties on sales of products, that could total up to Euro 100 Million ($106.3 million).


The products to be developed include diagnostic and prognostic tools for colon, breast, and prostate cancer, as well as pharmacagenomics tests to predict response to anti-cancer drugs, the companies said. Roche will use its PCR and microarray technology in the assays.


The methylation technologies involve measuring the differences in DNA methylation between diseased and healthy conditions. Methylation, the phenomenon wherein a methyl group is attached to the cytosine base on DNA, is a major mechanism of control for gene expression.

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