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Oct 23, 2007

Asuragen to Develop Cancer Pharmacogenomic Assay for Merck

  • Asuragen through its pharmacogenomic services division entered into a research collaboration with Merck & Co. to develop a biomarker and diagnostic test for cancer drug development.

    Merck’s oncology research program will identify an expression signature, which Asuragen will use to develop a diagnostic assay. Merck will be able to utilize the test in its cancer clinical trials. The assay may also serve as the basis for commercial companion diagnostic tests for oncology therapies.

    Asuragen will receive upfront fees and expects to complete development in 2008. Upon completion and validation, the company will be eligible to additional payments associated with successful transfer of the diagnostic assays to clinical reference laboratories.

    “Asuragen’s business model of providing GLP molecular biology services, CLIA testing capabilities, and GMP diagnostic assay development and manufacture is uniquely suited to collaborate with pharmaceutical partners in the clinical validation of drugs in development and the potential future companion diagnostic tests,” according to Matt Winkler, Ph.D., CEO and CSO of Asuragen.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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