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Qiagen Licenses Biomarkers for Blood Cancers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Qiagen said after the close of the market on Thursday that it has licensed four biomarkers from the University of Tokyo that are believed to play a role in the prognosis of patients with blood cancers.

As part of the deal, Qiagen has exclusively licensed the biomarker SF3B1, whose mutation is an important part of the spliceosome machinery and indicates a more favorable progression for patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) than the wild-type gene. MDS is a group of blood cancers in which bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells, and testing for variants of SF3B1 could potentially provide therapeutic guidance for treating the ailment, Qiagen said.

The SF3B1 biomarker will be included in Qiagen's GeneRead DNAseq Leukemia V2 gene panel for next-generation sequencing, Vincent Fert, personalized healthcare program leader at Qiagen, said in a statement. He added that several drugmakers are developing oncology agents that target the gene, making it a possible candidate for co-development as a companion diagnostic.

The licensing agreement includes three other spliceosome biomarkers that target variants in the U2AF35 (U2AF1), ZRSR2, and SFRS2 genes and that are indicated in certain blood cancers. They also will be included in the GeneRead DNAseq Leukemia V2 gene panel, which was launched earlier this month with 13 other new cancer gene panels, Qiagen said.

The GeneRead panels use as little as 10 nanograms of starting DNA per pool and require only three hours to enrich for targets, reducing the time from isolated DNA sample to sequence-ready libraries, according to Qiagen.

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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