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Asuragen Awarded $6.8M to Commercialize Sequencing-Based Cancer Dx Tests

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Diagnostic company Asuragen has been awarded a $6.8 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas to commercialize next-generation sequencing-based cancer tests.

The grant will help Asuragen expand its targeted sequencing-based cancer panels. The company has developed a 52-gene panel on the Illumina GAIIx instrument and smaller 16-gene and 5-gene panels on the Ion Torrent PGM. It also offers Ion's AmpliSeq Cancer Panel, which targets 46 genes.

These panels are currently offered for research purposes only, but Matt Winkler, founder and CEO of Asuragen, said the grant will enable the company to "further develop and ultimately commercialize NGS-based tests in our CLIA laboratory."

In addition, as part of the grant, Asuragen is collaborating with researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center to apply the company's panels to patient tumors in order to match the data to targeted therapies and patient outcomes. The company will test samples from the biomarker study BATTLE-2, a clinical trial for non-small cell lung cancer patients that aims to match patients with therapy based on biomarkers that predict drug response.

"It is widely anticipated that as the technologies become more robust and the time and cost for sequencing are reduced, NGS will enable the ultimate realization of personalized medicine," Gordon Mills, co-director of the Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy at the University of Texas MD Anderson, said in a statement.