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GEN News Highlights : Feb 22, 2012

OGT Licenses 12 Colorectal Cancer DNA Methylation Biomarkers from Oslo University

Firm says biomarker panel could enable earlier diagnosis and identification of at-risk patients.

Oxford Gene Technology (OGT) negotiated an exclusive license to 12 colorectal cancer DNA methylation biomarkers developed by researchers at Oslo University Hospital’s Norwegian Radium Hospital. The licensing agreement was signed with INven2, the technology transfer office of Oslo University Hospital and the University of Oslo. Under terms of the agreement OGT can commercialize any test developed using the biomarkers and sublicense the markers to third parties.

OGT says its own validation work indicates the colorectal cancer biomarker panel demonstrates sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 90% when assessed in tissue biopsies. The firm is working to evaluate their use in blood and fecal samples. “We believe that developing tests that include these genetic markers will permit the earlier identification of patients at risk of this disease and allow for more timely diagnosis and clinical interventions,” comments Mike Evans, OGT CEO. “The higher specificity of this new panel of markers could provide a more robust screening tool than the tests currently used, while eventually lowering overall costs.”

The firm is specialized in developing clinical genetics and molecular diagnostic solutions and operates through three commercial arms: clinical and genomic solutions, biomarker discovery, and licensing. The clinical and genomic solutions division is underpinned by OGT’s Genefficiency™ platform and CytoSure™ cytogenetics array, labeling, and interpretation software products and services (provided under an agreement with Agilent) for the detection of chromosomal abnormalities. Biomarker services encompass  companion diagnostics, immunomonitoring, target identification, and diagnostic develelopment.

OGT launched its Genefficiency targeted sequencing and microarray services last year for sequencing either whole exomes or custom genomic regions and carrying CNV, DNA methylation, miRNA, and gene expression analysis. Building on the success of its Genefficiency offerings, earlier this month the firm launched a dedicated Genefficiency service for investigating rare diseases. The rare disease services employs a workflow that is specifically configured for analyzing family trios and large patient cohorts.

In addition to its commercial divisions, OGT’s exploratory research division is focused on developing new diagnostic techniques either for development and commercialization in house or in collaboration with diagnostic and pharmaceutical firms.