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Unilabs to Market Diagnoplex's Colon Cancer Screening Test

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Diagnoplex and Unilabs said today that they have signed an agreement to commercialize Colox, Diagnoplex's minimally invasive colorectal cancer assay, within the Unilabs network.

The test will be available initially in the Swiss and Swedish markets, the companies said.

Colox, Diagnoplex's lead product, is a PCR-based test intended for the systematic screening of colorectal cancer. The gene signature underlying Colox has been designed to detect early and advanced disease stages with "outstanding results and reliability," said Diagnoplex.

Colox uses information from nucleic acids carried by peripheral blood mononuclear cells, which are instrumental in tumor-host interactions and are involved in the earliest stages of tumor formation. The test's ability to screen for the host response enables the detection of colorectal cancer risk at the earliest and even pre-cancerous stages, Diagnoplex said.

Unilabs is a diagnostic services company that operates more than 120 laboratories and 44 radiology units in Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

"Colox will strengthen the role of our molecular genetics laboratories in the diagnosis and monitoring of colorectal cancer," Fernando de Górgolas, Unilabs' group marketing and business development director, said in a statement.

In June, Lausanne, Switzerland-based Diagnoplex completed a CHF1.3 million ($1.4 million) financing round led by the Debiopharm Group to accelerate commercialization of Colox in Europe.

"We are delighted that Diagnoplex has been able to establish this collaboration with an important actor in [the] diagnostic market," Thierry Mauvernay, a Debiopharm Group board member, said in a statement today. "We believe the Colox blood test has the potential to greatly increase the percentage of people that will be correctly screened for colorectal cancer."

Other investors in Diagnoplex include NeoMed, Novartis Bioventures, and Initiative Capital Romandie.