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Mar 17, 2011

Sanofi-Aventis Taps Epistem to Inform Biomarker Strategy for Cancer Drug Development

  • Sanofi-aventis will pay Epistem $4 million over three years in research support payments including reimbursement of certain costs to use its biomarker gene-expression profiling and immunohistochemistry technologies. Under the agreement Epistem will provide discovery through to clinical biomarker support for oncology programs being conducted by sanofi-aventis and its affiliates.

    The agreement aims at identifying biological responses to drugs in relevant tissues. Activities covered by the collaboration include preclinical, ex vivo, and clinical support.

    Epistem’s GenetRx™ biomarker technology is based on extracting mRNA from tissue biopsies, blood, and small amounts of surrogate tissue to measure drug-induced gene-expression change.Besides providing contract research services to drug development companies, the firm develops its own therapeutics, biomarkers, and diagnostics. It focuses on the regulation of adult stem cells located in epithelial tissue, which includes the gastrointestinal tract, skin, hair follicles, breast, and prostate.



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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.

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