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Response Genetics, UCSF, GNS, CombinatoRx, Phenomenome, BioServe, Epigenomics, Decode

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Response Genetics to Partner with UCSF on Pancreatic Cancer Dx Development
 
Response Genetics this week said it will work with the University of California, San Francisco, on a two-year research study aimed at developing a diagnostic test kit for pancreatic cancer.
 
The company said the study will combine data from patient outcomes with genetic information from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples of pancreatic tissue provided by UCSF.
 
Response Genetics will cover the costs of the project, while Margaret Tempero, deputy director of the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, will lead the investigation.
 
"Diagnostic tests emerging from this collaboration would help physicians tailor treatment to the individual by using genetic information to identify patients who would most benefit from surgery or chemotherapy and radiation," Response Genetics President and CEO Kathleen Danenberg said in a statement.
 

 
GNS to Provide CombinatoRx with Modeling Software for Drug Studies
 
Gene Network Sciences will use its biological modeling software to assist CombinatoRx in drug efficacy and safety studies, GNS said last week.
 
Under the agreement, the companies will use GNS' reverse engineering/forward simulation software, which it calls REFSTM, to characterize the cellular mechanisms that can cause “synergistic interactions” between multi-target candidate drugs.
 
REFSTM will use data from CombinatoRx’s protein expression and transcriptional profiling studies to create models that simulate both the mechanisms of disease and clinical performance in drug candidates, GNS said.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
Phenomenome and BioServe Collaborate on Colorectal Cancer Dx, Plan Q4 US Launch
 
BioServe and Phenomenome Discoveries have co-developed a serum-based colorectal cancer test that they hope to launch in the US in the fourth quarter of 2007, the companies said this week.
 
The companies said the test is currently available in Japan and in Canada and is available worldwide as a fee-for-service research-use-only tool.
 
Using samples provided by BioServe, Phenomenome used its metabolomics platform to discover a series of novel metabolites that were "significantly decreased" in colorectal cancer patients. The company said it used that information to develop a high-throughput method that can measure a "key" subset of those molecules.
 
Using a separate, independent population of 189 CRC samples and 287 controls supplied by BioServe, Phenomenome found that its test exhibited 78 percent sensitivity and 90 percent specificity.
 
The companies said the test has been validated in four independent studies and they plan to push the test into trials late in 2007 in Canada and Japan, where “healthcare authorities will evaluate the test's utility as part of a broad-based population screening regimen.”
 
Phenomenome CEO John Hyshka said in a statement that the company has expanded its collaboration with BioServe to identify serum biomarkers for other forms of cancer as well as multiple sclerosis.
 
He added that he expects the colorectal cancer test to have “a positive impact on the low compliance rate of colonoscopy as a screening tool and enable healthcare providers to make more efficient use of the colonoscopy in the management of CRC.”
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
Epigenomics' Q2 Revenues Dwindle 17 Percent, R&D Rises in Dx Push
 
Epigenomics last week said second-quarter revenue fell 17 percent as R&D spending rose 17 percent and net loss decreased 21 percent.
 
Total receipts for the three months ended June 30 fell to €524,000 ($718,000) from €628,000 year over year.
 
The company said €511,000 of its €1.3 million total half-year revenue came from residuals from a collaboration with Roche Diagnostics, which officially ended in March.
 
R&D spending increased to €2.8 million from €2.4 million year over year.
 
Net loss was €3.4 million, compared with €4.3 million in the year-ago period.
 
Epigenomics said it had around €16.6 million in liquid assets as of June 30.
 
The company said it expects full-year 2007 revenue to be “similar” to the €3.5 million it posted in 2006.
 
Epigenomics’ CEO Geert Nygaard said the company made “significant progress” in the second quarter toward the commercialization of its cancer molecular diagnostic tests.
 
The company said it has “completed preparations” to raise equity capital over the next 12 months. “The exact timing will depend upon Epigenomics' progress in executing the strategy and delivering on its plans, in particular the structuring of an IVD deal, as well as prevailing market conditions,” the firm said.
 

 
Decode's Q2 Revenue Falls 27 Percent as LossNarrows
 
Decode Genetics said last week that its second-quarter revenues fell by 27 percent as R&D spending grew 10 percent and losses fell 11 percent.
 
Total receipts for the three months ended June 30 fell to $7.6 million from $10.4 million year over year. The company attributed the decrease in revenue to the conclusion of its diagnostics partnership with Roche in 2006.
 
R&D spending rose to $14.5 million from $13.2 million year over year. Decode said the rising costs are due to “the advance of our drug development programs, the launch of our first DNA-based tests for gauging individual risk of common diseases, and the acceleration of our gene and target discovery work.”
 
The company reduced its net loss to $16.2 million from $18.3 million in the year-ago period.
 
Decode said it had around $137.2 million in cash, cash equivalents, and investments as of June 30.
 
Company CEO Kari Stefansson said in a statement that Decode ended the quarter with a “strengthened cash position" that it will use to fund further product development.
 
Stefansson added that the company recently launched DNA-based tests for assessing the risk of type 2 diabetes and the risk of atrial fibrillation and stroke, and said Decode's compound for heart attack treatment and its anti-platelet therapeutic have shown encouraging clinical results.

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