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Benitec to Develop CDx for NSCLC Therapy as part of Licensing Deal

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Benitec Biopharma today announced a licensing agreement with the University of New South Wales for use of the university's RNAi technology and to develop a companion diagnostic to identify patients who may develop resistance to chemotherapy.

The deal provides Benitec the exclusive rights to UNSW's Tribetarna program, a lung cancer therapy, which silences the beta III tubulin gene in order to overcome chemotherapy resistance in non-small cell lung cancer. Additionally, the deal allows for the development and commercialization of a companion diagnostic.

Tribetarna was developed with Benitec's research collaboration partner, the Children's Cancer Institute Australia, UNSW, and today's deal progresses the partners to the next stage of the drug's development, testing for toxicity in preparation of a clinical trial.

Development of a companion diagnostic, Benitec said, is "integral to future clinical and commercialization plans" for Tribetarna.

"Using a companion diagnostic to identify patients at risk of developing resistance to chemotherapy, adds a new dimension to Tribetarna's potential ability to meet a critical medical need," Benitec Chief Business Officer Carl Stubbings said in a statement. "It is an important part of the development program and will enhance the overall value of this treatment."

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.