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DxS, Epigenomics Exercise Cross-Licensing Options for IVD Development

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By Turna Ray

Epigenomics and DxS have exercised certain cross-licensing options written into a pre-existing strategic agreement around the development of DNA methylation-based in vitro diagnostics.

The two companies announced this week that they have "cross-licensed certain technologies enabling both companies to develop and commercialize IVD products based on DNA methylation that utilize DxS' proprietary Scorpions technology."

The agreement, signed by both companies in January 2008, gave Epigenomics worldwide non-exclusive rights to DxS' Scorpions technology for R&D use and for the development of research kits, and provided an option to expand the license to the commercial IVD market. The agreement was set to expire this month, encouraging both companies to exercise the options.

As part of the deal, DxS received an option for a worldwide non-exclusive research and IVD license to certain Epigenomics IP covering DNA methylation applications. Both companies have also acquired the right to sub-license the licensed technologies.

DxS CEO Stephen Little told Pharmacogenomics Reporter this week that DxS is applying Epigenomics' DNA methylation technology to some diagnostics under development in the oncology setting. He did not elaborate.

DxS' RT-PCR-based Scorpions platform, combined with its allele-specific PCR technology ARMS, is the basis for several oncology diagnostics in its portfolio. The UK-based personalized medicine firm markets the TheraScreen brand of pharmacogenomics test kits that help predict response to various colorectal cancer drugs (see related story, in this issue).

DxS has an exclusive global distribution agreement with Roche Diagnostics for the distribution of the TheraScreen: K-RAS and TheraScreen: EGFR29 Mutation kits [see PGx Reporter 06-04-2008].

Epigenomics launched earlier this month a DNA methylation blood test for early detection of colorectal cancer based on its patented mSEPT9 biomarker in Europe. The test will be marketed in the US by Quest Diagnostics.

Berlin, Germany-based Epigenomics also has in its pipeline DNA methylation blood tests for early detection of prostate cancer based on the mGSTP1 and mPITX2 biomarkers. Another blood test for early lung cancer detection based on the mSHOX2 biomarker completed clinical trials earlier this year.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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