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Aushon BioSystems, Peking University Cancer Hospital to Collaborate on Colorectal Cancer Diagnostics

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By Justin Petrone

Strengthening its foothold in China, Aushon BioSystems this week announced that will work with Peking University Cancer Hospital in Beijing to develop predictive diagnostic markers for liver metastases of colorectal cancer.

According to the Billerica, Mass.-based firm, the partners will use Aushon's suite of protein biomarker detection technologies and stratification biomarkers for radio-chemotherapy patients. PUCH and Aushon will further negotiate an agreement to grant Aushon exclusive rights in North America and Europe to certain intellectual property generated from the collaboration for diagnostic applications, Aushon said.

This is the second deal for Aushon in China in the past few months. In November, the company announced a partnership with LightArray Biotech, a drug development service company located in Wuxi, to provide its multiplex biomarker products and services to pharmaceutical clients in that country (BAN 11/30/2010). Aushon's menu includes more than 300 validated arrays, a multiplex biomarker sample testing service, protein biomarker kits, custom array and assay development, and array imaging and analysis systems.

Alan Poon, director of marketing at Aushon, said in an e-mail this week that the deal with PUCH "further strengthens our presence in China," and the firm expects that this will be the "first of several such technical collaborations with Peking University Cancer Hospital and other leading research institutions in Asia."

The research with PUCH will be led by Jin Gu, an expert on colorectal cancer and liver metastasis, who will seek to identify biomarkers to predict which colorectal cancer patients develop metastatic disease. The collaboration was initiated by the US Chinese Anti-Cancer Association, a year-old nonprofit.

Poon noted in his e-mail that PUCH is "one of China’s largest and most renowned hospitals focusing specifically on cancer research and treatment." Between 2000 and 2007, PUCH completed 76 clinical trials, of which 52 were domestic clinical trials, 10 international multi-center clinical trials, and 14 clinical trials for medical equipment, he said. The hospital is currently conducting 35 domestic clinical trials, 11 international multi-center clinical trials, and 4 clinical trials for medical equipment, Poon added.

Financial details of the agreement were not discussed.

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