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Vermillion Presents Protein Biomarker Study Supporting OVA2 Ovarian Cancer Test

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Vermillion this week showed preliminary data from its work with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to identify protein biomarkers that could improve the accuracy of its OVA1 test for ovarian cancer.

According to the company, the study, which was presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer of the Society of Gynecological Oncologists, examined more than 20 candidate biomarkers, identifying three that added information to CA125, the protein biomarker conventionally used in ovarian cancer diagnosis.

This next-generation version of the test, called OVA2, has been a recent area of focus for Vermillion, with CEO Gail Page during a Q4 earnings call citing it – along with the company's vascular disease diagnostic Vasclir – as one of the key products in its pipeline.

In the registration statement filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for a recent $21.8 million public offering, Vermillion noted that the proceeds would be used in part to accelerate trials of OVA2 (GWDN 2/15/2011). In November, the firm received $488,958 through the Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project Program to be used in part for the development of the test (PM 11/5/2010).

The OVA2 studies presented this week were conducted by Johns Hopkins professor Zhen Zhang and professor and director of the university's Biomarker Discovery Center Daniel Chan.

"Markers that can improve the clinical specificity of current tools for ovarian cancer detection will enhance our ability to test patients in whom cancer is suspected," Vermillion's chief science officer Eric Fung said in a statement. "These results pave the way for further studies that could lead to additional novel tests in the ovarian cancer space."

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