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Johns Hopkins Licenses Microsatellite Instability Testing Technology to PGDx

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Personal Genome Diagnostics announced today that it has licensed patent-pending microsatellite instability (MSI) testing technology from Johns Hopkins University.

The technology can be used to help identify cancer patients who would respond to immune checkpoint inhibition therapy. PGDx said it plans to incorporate the technology into its recently launched PlasmaSelect 64 non-invasive pan-cancer assay. It has also already included the technology in its pan-cancer genomic tissue assays for patients and drug developers, and in its Progeneus technology transfer enterprise solution, which enables laboratories that have next-generation sequencing capabilities to perform advanced cancer genomic testing.

PGDx will have the exclusive rights to the MSI detection technology through mid-2017, and will share rights with another molecular diagnostics provider after that. The company also has the sole rights to sublicense the technology. Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Tumor cells with MSI and impaired mismatch repair are associated with a greater likelihood of successful treatment with immuno-oncology drugs such as the PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors, PGDx said. An accurate MSI measurement could help determine which cancer patients might benefit from such treatments.

"The growing prominence of immuno-oncology treatments for cancer highlights the therapeutic importance of determining whether patients have microsatellite instability present in their tumors," said PGDx CEO Doug Ward in a statement. "We therefore welcome the opportunity to expand use of the Johns Hopkins MSI testing technology in our product line. This is especially timely as we advance plans for FDA review and clearance of our assays."