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RiboMed, AIT Partner on Epigenetics-based Lung Cancer Assay Development

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Epigenetics-based molecular diagnostics company RiboMed Biotechnologies today announced a partnership with the Austrian Institute of Technology to develop and commercialize an assay based on lung cancer DNA methylation biomarkers discovered and validated by researchers at the institute.

The biomarkers allow for the early detection of lung cancer, as well as the subtyping of non-small cell lung cancer into adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, which are treated with different therapies.

RiboMed has developed a proprietary affinity protein called MethylMagnet to separate methylated and unmethylated DNA, as well as a sensitive signal generation process called Abscription, short for Abortive Transcription, for detection. Abscription is based on isothermal signal amplification reaction, and the combination of RiboMed's technologies in its MethylMeter assays allows the firm to quantitatively measure the extent of DNA methylation of the regulatory regions of multiple genes, it said.

Under this partnership, the institute's biomarkers will be combined with additional DNA methylation biomarkers being validated by RiboMed that will be able to predict whether a patient will respond to the most commonly used drugs for treating lung cancer.

"By coupling AIT's diagnostic and subtyping biomarkers with other biomarkers that predict drug response, we will provide physicians with a single test with both diagnostic and theranostic information," RiboMed CEO Michelle Hanna said in a statement. The test being developed with AIT will be developed and offered through RiboMed's CLIA laboratory in Carlsbad, Calif. Hanna told GenomeWeb Daily News in an email that development work has started and "if our funding holds out, we expect to launch next year."

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Also today, Abcodia announced a deal with AIT to validate biomarkers for detecting lung and colorectal cancers.

RiboMed focuses on epigenetic diagnostics, and theranostics in oncology. Its products and services are used for disease screening, diagnostics, theranostics, post-treatment monitoring, and drug development, it said. In 2012, it launched its first prognostic test for brain cancer.