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Agendia Gets European Rights to Arcturus CUP-gene Profile; Prepares Diagnostic Test

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Agendia has acquired exclusive European rights from Arcturus Bioscience to use the gene-expresion profile for cancer of unknown primary, the companies said last week.

Agendia said that it had used Arcturus’ profile to create a gene expression-based diagnostic test called CupPrint. The test will be used to help doctors locate primary tumors in cancer patients.

René Bernards, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Agendia, said in a statement that the new tool will have an impact in treating patients who often face higher mortality rates because their primary tumors cannot be rapidly identified.

According to Agendia, CupPrint uses a gene-expression database of 32 different tissue types and 78 tumor types, and can rapidly determine whether the primary tumor belongs to one of the major categories.

Laura van‘t Veer, Agendia’s chief operating officer, said that “CupPrint is highly relevant for oncologists that have patients with a metastasized tumor where a primary tumor cannot be identified.”

Van‘t Veer said CupPrint would be useful in about 10 percent of all cancer diagnostics. Agendia currently markets a similar product called MammaPrint in Europe and the US that is used in diagnosing breast cancer recurrence.

Agendia inked a deal with the Molecular Profiling Institute in December to be the US provider of MammaPrint (See BAN 12/15/04). Van‘t Veer said that MammaPrint would be evaluated in a European Union-funded clinical study on 6,000 patients set to begin in mid-2005.

Bernhard Sixt, CEO of Agendia, said CupPrint would be undergoing similar clinical trials in the near future with two institutes in the US and Europe.

CupPrint will be available in early spring, according to van‘t Veer, and will cost around €2,000 ($2,560) per test. She declined to disclose the financial details of the Arcturus deal, or how much money the company had spent on research and design.

Sixt told BioArray News that while Agendia is focused on the European market now, it is definitely interested in licensing the US rights to the CUP gene-expression profile.

Greg Milosevich, a spokesperson for Mountain View, Calif.-based Arcturus, confirmed that the US rights to the profile are still available.

“Arcturus is in discussions with potential collaborators in the United States that are interested in our profile,”he said. Milosevich also declined to disclose the financial details of the Agendia deal.

— JP

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