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GEN News Highlights : Mar 8, 2010

ExonHit and bioMérieux Scrap Colorectal Cancer from Biomarker Discovery Program

Companies will focus on developing a blood test for prostate cancer.

ExonHit Therapeutics and bioMérieux have decided not to pursue colorectal cancer in their ongoing cancer biomarker discovery collaboration. The companies say that they will now focus their efforts on prostate cancer.

The decision to axe colorectal cancer follows a review of clinical data. “ExonHit’s technology was able to produce a robust and reproducible test,” points out Loïc Maurel, M.D., president of ExonHit’s management board. “However, the final results from the colon cancer program did not reach the level of performance we were aiming to achieve.”

ExonHit and bioMérieux signed their cancer diagnostic collaboration in 2005. Designed to exploit ExonHit’s gene-expression analysis expertise and IP, the partnership is focused on the development of DNA microarrays to detect cancer markers in blood.

The companies amended their agreement during 2008 to give ExonHit commercial rights for diagnostic kits developed through the partnership. At the time bioMérieux also gained greater flexibility to initiate new research.

In December 2009, ExonHit launched its own blood-based Alzheimer disease diagnostic test, AclarusDx™ (formerly known as EHT Dx21), for the research market. The company is working with its partners to effect launch of the product for the clinical IVD market.

ExonHit says that it anticipates achieving a Eruopean CE mark for AclarusDx during the latter part of 2010. Discussions are also under way with FDA to define the exact regulatory path that will be needed to meet U.S. IVD approval requirements.