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GEN News Highlights : Nov 8, 2011

OGT and Abcodia to Leverage Prospective Biobank for Pancreatic Cancer Diagnostics

OGT will use array platforms to identify biomarkers that may predict disease earlier than current tests.

Oxford Gene Technology (OGT) and Abcodia are teaming up to develop biomarker-based diagnostics for pancreatic cancer. The partnership will give OGT access to Abcodia’s prospective serum biobank including samples that were taken from individuals up to seven years before pancreatic cancer was diagnosed. OGT will then apply its functional protein array platform and Genefficiency™ miRNA profiling array  to identify pancreatic cancer-specific biomarkers that can be used as diagnostic indicators of pancreatic cancer development.

U.K.-based Abcodia was established earlier this year to discover and validate molecular biomarkers for disease diagnosis and screening. The firm has rights to commercialize IP from UKCTOCS,one of the country’s largest biobanks, created by scientists at University College London (UCL), which includes serum samples from over 202,000 initially healthy volunteers and a total of 500,000 samples including those from volunteers who have provided samples annually.

Over 300 of the volunteers who initially donated serum samples have since gone on to develop pancreatic cancer, which means the firm now has access to prospective samples including serial samples donated over a number of years. Abcodia launched its pancreatic cancer diagnostic program in April and has been working to establish collaborations with industrial and academic partners focused on using its resource to discover new or validate existing biomarkers for pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

In June the firm expanded its biomarker discovery program to cover colorectal cancer. Over 1,800 subjects donating to the biobank have subsequently developed colorectal cancer and another 400 or so have been diagnosed with benign and in situ colorectal neoplasms.