MDxHealth and Exact Sciences say they will share their respective epigenetic and molecular diagnostic technologies and R&D through a 5-year collaboration agreement with the ultimate goal of developing new epigenetic-based diagnostics for a range of indications, including urology and lung cancer.

“The collaboration may allow each party to better capitalize on its cutting-edge epigenetic research and development efforts to bring new products and services to market to improve patient lives,” commented Wim van Criekinge, Ph.D., CSO at MDxHealth, which has its U.S. headquarters in Irvine, CA.

“We are delighted to continue our long-standing scientific cooperation through this new agreement, which has the potential to benefit both companies' product development programs,” added Graham Lidgard, Ph.D., CSO and svp of R&D at Exact Sciences.

MDxHealth and Exact Sciences have a long-standing relationship. Exact’s stool DNA colorectal cancer screening test Cologuard®, which was approved by the FDA in mid 2014, incorporates MDxHealth’s DNA methylation biomarker NDRG4, licensed to Exact Sciences in 2010. Alongside the companies' new collaboration agreement, Exact Sciences is now buying the NDRG4 patent and assets relating to the methylation-related use of the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) technology from MDxHealth. The acquisitions include one-time fees of $15 million, which includes payments accrued since July 2016.

MDxHealth develops biomarker-based molecular diagnostic tests for urologic cancers. Earlier this month, the firm negotiated an exclusive licensing deal for technology developed at Belgium’s Ghent University, which allows the visual detection of cancer-related epigenetic changes in both tissue and liquid samples. MDxHealth's European headquarters are located in Belgium, and the firm also has a research joint venture, NXTGNT (Epi)genomics, with Ghent University.

Exact Sciences and MD Anderson Cancer Center inked an agreement in mid 2015 to jointly develop and commercialize blood-based screening and diagnostic tests for early lung cancer detection. Last month, Exact Sciences and the Mayo Clinic reported promising data from a study evaluating their blood biomarker test for lung cancer.

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