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GEN News Highlights : Nov 12, 2010

London Genetics and Astrimmune to Find Predictive Biomarkers for Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine

Astrimmune’s candidate induces the production of antibodies against gastrin.

London Genetics and Astrimmune will work together to establish a biomarker identification program for the latter’s pancreatic cancer vaccine candidate. The aim is to use the data for proper patient stratification in clinical trials.

The collaboration between London Genetics and Astrimmune is backed by a grant from the UK East Midlands Development Agency. London Genetics’ seven academic partners will provide support in areas such as tumor biopsy samples, animal models, and genetics of immune responses to cancer vaccines.

Astrimmune’s vaccine candidate induces the production of antibodies against gastrin, a hormone that is known to stimulate the growth of various gastrointestinal cancers. Since differential response rates have been observed in clinical trials of other gastrin-blocking products, there is a clear need for biomarkers to help identify those patients most likely to benefit from Astrimmune’s product.

London Genetics, a not-for-profit company, provides pharmacogenetics expertise for drug discovery and development. Established in 2007 with funding from the London Development Agency, its seven founding partners are London-based academic and medical institutions with clinical and genetic expertise and patient resources.

Most recently, in September, London Genetics inked a deal with Diaceutics to develop software decision tools that will provide biopharmaceutical companies with rapid and extensive access to academic biomarker research groups.

The software, which is expected to launch in 2011, is based on the Diaceutics’ Fusion platform and the London Genetics Biomarker Pathway platform. The Fusion platform is a personalized medicine planning software application for targeted-therapy development teams.