Warnex Medical Laboratories, a division of Warnex Inc., and Epigenomics AG, a cancer molecular diagnosis company based in Berlin, Germany, announced that they have entered into a non-exclusive licensing agreement for Epigenomics’ colorectal cancer biomarker Septin9. Under the terms of the agreement, Warnex has obtained the rights to establish a laboratory-developed test for Septin9 and offer colorectal cancer blood testing services in Canada. Warnex plans to launch the testing service in the next few months. As the first laboratory to offer Septin9 testing in Canada, Warnex, subject to certain conditions, enjoys a time-limited head-start period of exclusivity for the Canadian market. Epigenomics will be entitled to certain royalty payments. Further contractual details were not disclosed.
“We are pleased to add this colorectal cancer test based on real-time PCR technology to our service offering as part of our continued commitment to offering the most advanced specialized diagnostic services to Canadian healthcare professionals,” said Mark Busgang, President and CEO of Warnex. “This blood test, using Epigenomics’ Septin9 biomarker, offers an easy and accurate method to help diagnose patients with colorectal cancer.”
In numerous studies with over 3,300 blood samples, Epigenomics has demonstrated that methylated DNA of the Septin9 gene in blood plasma is a reliable indicator of colorectal cancer of all stages and all locations. This paved the way for a convenient blood test for colorectal cancer early detection that can easily be integrated into the patient’s routine physical, is non-invasive and does not require any drug or dietary restrictions.
“Warnex is the ideal partner to make colorectal cancer blood testing based on our Septin9 biomarker in Canada. This agreement is an important further step in the international rollout of Septin9 testing, which is already commercially available in the U.S. and Europe,” commented Geert Nygaard, Chief Executive Officer of Epigenomics.
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in Canada. In 2009, an estimated 22,000 Canadians were diagnosed with the disease and 9,100 died from it. As colorectal cancer is largely curable when detected in early, still localized stages, the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada recommends that all Canadians age 50 and over undergo screening with a test detecting blood in stool (fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test) at least once every two years. If a test is positive for blood, a colonoscopy should be performed to determine the cause of bleeding. Despite the clear benefits of colorectal cancer screening in reducing mortality from this disease, only 4% to 14% of eligible Canadians follow the screening recommendations. Innovative convenient screening methods could greatly increase compliance and thereby contribute to reducing mortality from colorectal cancer.
Date: May 3, 2010
Source: Warnex Medical Laboratories