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U of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Licenses Exosome Tech to Peregrine Pharmaceuticals

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has exclusively licensed an exosome-based diagnostic technology to Peregrine Pharmaceuticals.

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Peregrine VP of Preclinical Research Jeff Hutchins said in a statement that the technology could be used as a companion diagnostic in the development of the firm's lead cancer immunotherapy candidate bavituximab, as well as a more general test for cancer detection and monitoring.

"This technology offers a promising product development opportunity and aligns directly with the company's expertise with our proprietary phosphatidylserine-targeting platform," Hutchins said.

The licensing agreement comes out of a sponsored research agreement between Peregrine and UTSWMC, focused on phosphatidylserine (PS), an immunosuppressive signaling molecule. The partners believe that tumor exosomes containing PS could be used to detect and monitor cancer, as preliminary studies suggest cancer patients have higher levels of exosomes containing PS and the number of such exosomes is correlated with disease burden.

"We feel that today's licensing deal provides yet another important driver in our ongoing efforts to achieve profitability," Hutchins said.

He added that development of a PS-based assay would not require a large capital investment and offers the firm several revenue-generating opportunities to partner with other firms. Peregrine said it possesses the experience, personnel, and technology to create a blood-based test on its own, based on its in-house contract development and manufacturing organization services. The company will embark on proof-of-concept studies and will look to partner with other firms on the test starting next year.