USCN Life Science of Wuhan, China, has granted BioTime an option to license antibody-producing cell lines and certain related technology for use in BioTime’s cancer diagnostic platform. The companies also signed a distribution agreement granting BioTime the right to market over 4,000 ELISA and CLIA kits for detecting an array of proteins for the stem cell research market. Beginning in 2012, BioTime plans to sell these research products through its subsidiary LifeMap Sciences.
The option agreement covers use of USCN’s cell lines and related technology for the large-scale manufacture of the antibody components of PanC-Dx™. This diagnostic technology was discovered at BioTime and subsidiary OncoCyte and is intended to detect the presence of various human cancers during routine check-ups.
BioTime believes that the option agreement with USCN will facilitate launching PanC-Dx in Europe during 2013, followed by entry into the U.S. and other markets. OncoCyte identified a pattern of proteins produced by tumors that can be detected in the blood of cancer patients. In laboratory tests, the percentage of times that the test correctly identified people as having cancer versus being cancer-free was higher than that of commonly used cancer diagnostics such as the prostate-specific antigen test for prostate cancer, according to the firm.
An important factor in the rapid development of antibody-based diagnostics is a scalable source of the antibodies that specifically recognize a target protein. USCN Life Sciences offers thousands of diverse antibody-based assay kits for ELISA and CLIA. These kits utilize antibodies that recognize a wide array of proteins and are useful in the measurement of the levels of these proteins for research purposes. As a result of the agreement with USCN, OncoCyte will have the choice of creating its own antibody-producing cell lines to manufacture the components of PanC-Dx or using existing USCN hybridomas under a royalty-bearing license.
"The option to use USCN's hybridomas for the manufacture of the antibody components of PanC-Dx will allow OncoCyte to keep the development of its lead human pan-cancer diagnostic product on the fast track," notes Michael D. West, Ph.D., CEO of BioTime. "We are also impressed with the quality of the antibody-based products manufactured by USCN Life Sciences and look forward to collaborating with USCN to distribute over 4,000 diverse ELISA and CLIA kits to the stem cell research community through the LifeMap database currently under development by LifeMap Sciences Ltd. of Tel Aviv, Israel."