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Alion Pharma, Medical Prognosis Institute Partner to Develop Oncology CDx

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Alion Pharmaceuticals and the Medical Prognosis Institute today announced a partnership to develop a companion diagnostic for Alion's ion channel inhibitors used in the treatment of certain cancers.

MPI will use its Drug Response Predictor platform to identify a biomarker that Alion can use to help find cancer patients likely to respond to its lead ion channel inhibitor. Alion would use the companion diagnostic to enroll patients for a planned Phase I clinical trial.

The DRP platform is for developing tumor-derived gene signatures that may be predictive of how patients respond to certain oncology treatment.

Ion channels in cell membranes regulate specific stages of cancer establishment and progression, and blocking ion channel activity impairs the growth of some tumors, Alion said in a statement.

"We are confident that the DRP biomarker to be developed for Alion's lead ion channel inhibitor will enable the identification and selection of likely responding patients for the drug, and we look forward to confirming this as the Phase I trial unfolds," Steen Knudsen, co-founder and CSO of MPI, said.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Belmont, Calif.-based Alion is a pharmaceutical company with a pipeline of ion channel inhibitors to treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. MPI is a Danish biotechnology firm with an office in Scottsdale, Ariz. specializing in the development of oncology biomarkers and companion diagnostics.