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GEN News Highlights : Jan 18, 2012

Quintiles Takes Majority Stake in Oxford Cancer Biomarkers

Recently formed firm is focusing on companion diagnostics.

Quintiles reports an investment in Oxford Cancer Biomarkers that makes it the largest shareholder. Oxford Cancer Biomarkers is developing biomarkers using CancerNav, its DNA- and protein-based assay platform.

The technology was invented by Nick La Thangue, Ph.D., chair of cancer biology at Oxford University. Oxford Cancer Biomarkers’ other shareholders are the University of Oxford, Dr. La Thangue, and David Kerr, M.D, of the University of Oxford who now serves as the company’s CMO.

Oxford Cancer Biomarkers will have a strategic relationship with Quintiles Consulting and Quintiles Global Laboratories, which have the capabilities and expertise to handle the operations behind consulting and biomarker R&D innovations from Oxford Cancer Biomarkers.

Oxford Cancer Biomarkers has offices in Oxford and Reading, U.K. Its consultancy arm offers expertise in the development, placement, conduct, and analysis of early-phase oncology clinical trials. In terms of biomarker R&D, the firm’s objective is to develop companion diagnostic kits. It is currently working on H-Test, a biomarker kit for histone deacetylase inhibitors; ColoPredict™, is a DNA test for colorectal cancer patients; and P-Test, a companion diagnostic for drugs that act through proteasome inhibition.

“Biomarkers hold great promise to improve trial success rates by identifying patient subgroups most likely to respond to treatment, increasing the probability of trial success and improving patient safety,” points out Ben Cons, vp, Quintiles Corporate Development.