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Ymir Genomics Licenses Urine Biomarkers for Liver Disease Detection From OHSU

NEW YORK – Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Ymir Genomics said on Wednesday that it has signed a licensing agreement and filed a joint patent application with the Oregon Health & Science University's Knight Cancer Institute that aims to protect and promote newly discovered urinary biomarkers for cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Ymir and OHSU will share in any value created by the biomarkers and will jointly publish and validate the biomarkers in a large-scale multi-center study.

The agreement and patent filing cover all protein and miRNA biomarkers discovered using Ymir's extracellular vesicle isolation technology in a pilot study the partners launched in 2017.

Ymir Genomics believes its EV isolation technology will allow researchers to create non-invasive diagnostic and prognostic assays from liquid samples such as urine, cerebrospinal fluid, and saliva.

"The main goal of our pilot study with OHSU was to perfect our sample prep and analysis methods, which we clearly accomplished as we found known serum liver disease markers in the urine," Shannon Pendergrast, CSO of Ymir Genomics, said in a statement. "We consider this proof-of-principle] for the methods … [and] have discovered over a dozen candidate biomarkers."

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

"There is a real need for non-invasive, widely available biomarkers for cirrhosis and HCC," Christina Biner, study coleader and adjunct professor at OHSU, added. "We believe this collaboration will further the work on early detection of these diseases."