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Wistar Institute, OncoCyte Expand Lung Cancer Dx Collaboration

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Wistar Institute and OncoCyte said today they are expanding a prior agreement aimed at developing a diagnostic test for the early detection of lung cancer. 

In late 2013, the partners inked a sponsored research agreement to develop and test potential gene expression-based lung cancer biomarkers identified by Louise Showe, a professor in Wistar's Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis program. Under the expanded deal, Wistar and OncoCyte will develop a highly sensitive and specific non-invasive, blood-based test. 

In the next phase of the development, the partners will analyze an expanded patient set, and transfer the sample analysis to a platform that can be operated at commercial scale. Further, Wistar and OncoCyte researchers will confirm mRNA and miRNA expression, and complete diagnostic test verification, with the aim of completing final validation of the test in 2016, followed by a commercial launch. 

OncoCyte, a subsidiary of BioTime, has exercised options to obtain exclusive licenses to inventions, discoveries, or technologies resulting from the collaboration. It expects to finalize definitive licensing agreements with Wistar in the future. 

The expansion of the collaboration follows positive clinical interim results that were presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in the spring that demonstrated a high level of sensitivity and specificity for the blood-based test developed based on the biomarkers identified by Showe. According to the preliminary results, the test had an area under the curve of .88 with sensitivity of 76 percent and specificity of 88 percent.