OncoMethylome licenses prostate cancer test to J&J unit

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uirne testBRUSSELS (MarketWatch) -- OncoMethylome Sciences (ONCOB.BT) Wednesday announced it successfully completed the initial research activities of its urine-based prostate cancer test, and that the test has been licensed to Veridex LLC, a Johnson & Johnson company (JNJ).

The test, which uses urine as the patient sample, is being developed to improve the current process for prostate cancer screening. For men, prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Tests that screen for prostate cancer today, such as the PSA test, are commonly criticized by the medical community for their inaccuracy.

Up to 75% of the men who are recommended for a prostate biopsy procedure based on their elevated PSA levels have negative biopsy results.

 At the same time, the PSA test misses cancer in many men with the disease. OncoMethylome's methylation test is a sensitive DNA test designed for detecting prostate cancer cells that are shed from the prostate gland into urine. This urine-based test has the potential to improve the current prostate cancer screening process.

This novel urine test is the second molecular diagnostic test licensed from OncoMethylome by Veridex. The first test, licensed in 2005, is a tissue-based test for prostate cancer detection. Under the terms of the new license agreement, Veridex takes over product commercialization responsibilities of the urine test, including the development of the test kit, and receives the exclusive worldwide right to sell the test. In return, OncoMethylome receives an upfront milestone payment, and qualifies for royalty payments, as well as additional sales-related milestone payments.

Herman Spolders, CEO of OncoMethylome Sciences commented "The new licensing deal with Veridex is another step towards making high-quality molecular diagnostics available to cancer patients, which is OncoMethylome's ultimate goal. The deal is also important for us because it confirms market interest in our innovative products and demonstrates our ability to develop relationships with strong distribution partners."

Methylation is a natural control mechanism that regulates gene expression in DNA. Abnormal methylation of certain genes, such as tumor suppressor genes, can silence gene expression and is often associated with cancer development. OncoMethylome owns proprietary technology that is highly sensitive and capable of detecting cancer in early stages of cancer development. In the case of prostate cancer, this technology identifies methylation at genes that have been shown to be associated with prostate cancer.

Company website: http://www.oncomethylome.com

source MarketWatch 

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