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Oxford Cancer Biomarkers Developing CDx Biomarkers for AstraZeneca

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Companion diagnostics firm Oxford Cancer Biomarkers on Monday announced a biomarker discovery deal with AstraZeneca directed at an undisclosed drug.

Under the terms of the deal, OCB seeks to discover biomarkers that can predict responders and non-responders to the drug. OCB may also validate and further develop biomarkers resulting from the collaboration. AstraZeneca has the option to license the biomarkers.

Financial and other terms were not disclosed.

"The discovery and development of biomarkers of drug response is becoming an essential component of cancer drug development and commercialization," OCB CEO Nick McCooke said in a statement. "With more targeted treatments being made available for more defined patient populations, the need for companion diagnostics is growing."

OCB was spun out of Oxford University and incorporated in 2011, it said on its website. It has a corporate partnership with Quintiles, which includes a £3 million ($4.6 million) investment from the contract research organization.

The company's main technology called CancerNav, a DNA- and protein-based assay technology platform, enables cancer biomarkers that "align with drug response" to be isolated. Biomarkers discovered with the technology directly measure protein levels in tumor tissue, allowing for effective drug selection, OCB said.