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MolecularMD Licenses IP from NYU, MSKCC

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Diagnostic test developer MolecularMD has licensed from New York University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center a patent covering technology that may be used in a PCR-based assay to help guide cancer treatment, the company said Monday.

Under the agreement, the firm gained exclusive US commercial rights to use the technology in a test for a BRAF mutation that could help doctors make personalized treatment decisions for patients with melanoma and some other cancers. Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

The patent describes the use of a fluorescent-based, allele-specific PCR assay that amplifies the V600E BRAF mutation that has been shown to be involved in regulating cell proliferation and survival. The Portland, Ore.-based company said that this technology can be used to detect BRAF mutations in tumor and lymph node biopsy samples, as well as in blood samples.

According to MolecularMD, mutations in BRAF have been found in 50 percent of melanomas, 30 to 70 percent of thyroid cancers, 30 percent of serious low-grade ovarian cancers, and 10 percent of colorectal cancers.

"The rapid and accurate detection of mutant BRAF alleles in the blood of patients with metastatic melanoma may give the clinician valuable information about the disease status of a patient in a real-time, cost-effective fashion," NYU Langone Medical Center Associate Professor David Polsky, who co-developed the technology, said in a statement.

A recent clinical trial conducted by F. Hoffman-La Roche showed "promising efficacy" for the V600E mutation's value in melanoma cases. A clinically-validated test to identify patients that are likely to benefit from specific therapies based on this information could help doctors predict the effectiveness and monitor the progress of treatments, MolecularMD said.

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