NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Epigenetics sequencing firm Cambridge Epigenetix announced today that it has exclusively licensed DNA methylation-related intellectual property from Boston Children's Hospital.
According to the company, the IP stems from the work of former Boston Children's Hospital researcher Anjana Rao, who identified 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) as a cancer diagnostic biomarker that cannot be measured with traditional sequencing methodologies. Rao — currently a member of Cambridge Epigenetix's scientific advisory board — also showed that the ten-eleven translocation (TET) family of enzymes generate 5hmC from 5-methylcytosine (5mC) and that these regulators of cellular differentiation are frequently mutated in cancer.
The IP — which was filed in 2008 — covers techniques for profiling and altering DNA methylation, including the specific and unbiased enrichment of 5mC and 5hmC via enzymatic glucosylation and the use of TETs for targeted epigenetic engineering, Cambridge Epigenetix said.
Specific terms of the licensing deal were not disclosed.
"5hmC is fundamentally linked to the expression of genes and to the identity of cells and tissue," Cambridge Epigenetix CEO Jason Mellad said in a statement. "This makes it a highly important epigenetic marker with the potential to improve patient outcomes through the early diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer."