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Allegro Diagnostics Raises $5.4M to Advance Lung Cancer Test


By Justin Petrone

Allegro Diagnostics this week announced that it has closed a $5.4 million Series A extension round of financing. The company's existing investors, Kodiak Venture Partners and Catalyst Health Ventures, participated in the round.

Proceeds from the financing will support the commercialization of Allegro's lead genomic test, BronchoGen, in 2012. Allegro's test is manufactured by Affymetrix, and relies on an 80-gene biomarker signature to detect and rule out the presence of lung cancer using histologically normal large-airway epithelial cells obtained at bronchoscopy from smokers suspected to have the disease.

Michael Webb, president and CEO of Maynard, Mass.-based Allegro, said in a statement that the firm's test is intended to "fill a gap" in lung cancer diagnosis.

"Approximately 300,000 bronchoscopic exams are performed each year, but the majority of the results are inconclusive," Webb said. "As a consequence, most individuals with suspected lung cancer do not receive a definitive diagnosis, and therefore may not receive treatment until it is too late," he said. "When used alongside standard bronchoscopy procedures, BronchoGen is intended to provide additional critical diagnostic information much earlier in the diagnostic process."

Webb told BioArray News that Allegro will make BronchoGen available as a laboratory-developed test via its Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-compliant lab next year.

"The launch will be initially to key opinion leaders and other thought leaders in pulmonology," said Webb. Allegro has no plans at this time to offer a catalog array. The firm aims to conduct analytical and clinical validation of the test in the fall, and have it on the market by the middle of '12, Webb added.

Earlier this month, Allegro announced an exclusive license agreement with Boston University and the University of Utah Foundation for intellectual property related to its testing platform (BAN 7/5/2011). Webb was named president and CEO of the Maynard, Mass.-based firm last month (BAN 6/21/2011).

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