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20/20 GeneSystems Wins $3M in SBIR Grants

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – 20/20 GeneSystems, a Rockville, Md.-based firm developing companion diagnostics, today said that it has received $3 million in Small Business Innovative Research grants to develop tests to help oncologists predict the effectiveness of targeted cancer therapies.

The grants came from the National Cancer Institute's SBIR program and included a $2.75 million Phase IIB "Bridge Award," and a $200,000 Phase I SBIR contract.

The Bridge Award is directed at development of a companion diagnostic, called PredicTOR, that predicts tumor response to drugs that target, or are impacted by activation of, the mTOR pathway. Drugs included in this class include Pfizer's Torisel (temsirolimus) and Novartis' Afinitor (everolimus), which have been approved for the treatment of kidney cancer.

The Phase I grant supported development of a test to predict kidney tumor response to drugs that target the VEGF pathway, such as Pfizer's Sutent (sunitinib).

Both tests utilize 20/20's Layered-Immunohistochemistry technology, which allows for the simultaneous detection of multiple biomarkers in a single tissue section while preserving its morphology and eliminating several limitations associated with the few current multiplex histology techniques.