A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

The COBRED consortium reported that the EU Commission has awarded a 12.9 million ($3.9 million) grant as part of the 6th Framework Program to the COBRED project coordinated by BioSystems International (Evry, France).

The COBRED project is focused on discovering colon cancer and breast cancer biomarkers/diagnostics for patient follow-up — also known as monitoring markers —by exploiting the capacity of three high-throughput technologies in an integrated systems biology approach.

In addition to BioSystems International, the consortium comprises two other biotech firms, Ipsogen (Marseille, France) and Biocrates (Innsbruck, Austria); two large comprehensive cancer centers, Institut Curie (Paris) and Institut Gustave Roussy (Villejuif, France); and three academic partners, University of Debrecen (Debrecen, Hungary; University of Innsbruck (Innsbruck, Austria) and University of Tartu (Tartu, Estonia).

The consultancy firm ARTTIC (Paris) will support the consortium for project management.

After three years, COBRED is to deliver a set of biomarker/diagnostic candidates verified in pre-clinical studies, ready for large-scale clinical validation and further development for commercialization by the respective firms.

Although within the project scope, COBRED is focused on biomarkers for follow-up diagnostics, the diagnostic candidates may have the potential to aid early cancer detection via population screening. And data gathered in the study may point to yet poorly understood cancer mechanisms.

European patent to Ciphergen

Ciphergen Biosystems (Fremont, California) said the European Patent Office has issued EU Patent No. 1 354 203, titled “Biomarkers of Transitional Cell Carcinoma of the Bladder,” for aiding in bladder cancer diagnosis when used in conjunction with the current standard of care — cystoscopy, a diagnostic procedure that uses a scope to view the bladder.

The patent describes using mass spectrometry to detect certain protein biomarkers that are present in patients with bladder cancer vs. patients who do not have bladder cancer. These discoveries were made under a collaborative agreement between Ciphergen and Eastern Virginia Medical School (Norfalk). Ciphergen retains exclusive rights to the discoveries for diagnostic development.

“The issuance of this patent is another example of [our] growing intellectual property portfolio and the productivity of our collaborations, which continue to support the expansion of our high-value diagnostic development programs,” said Ciphergen CEO Gail Page. “In collaboration with our partners, we continue to generate promising biomarker data that may be useful for aiding physicians in cancer diagnosis, disease monitoring, or prediction of recurrence.”

Ciphergen, along with its scientific collaborators, has ongoing diagnostic programs in oncology/hematology, cardiology and women’s health, the latter with an initial focus in ovarian cancer.

China distribution accord for AMDL

AMDL (Tustin, California), which has operations in Shenzhen, Jiangxi and Jilin, China, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Jade Pharmaceutical (JPI), said that Jade, through its JJB subsidiary, has signed new distribution and agency agreements with Double Crane Medicine Co. (Changsha) and Anhui Huayuan Medical Co. (AHM), a subsidiary of China Resources (Holdings).

The one-year, renewable agreement with Double Crane Medicine covers the provinces and cities of Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Chongqing, Guangxi, Yunnan and Guizhou. Double Crane will initially be selling 12 Jade products.

A similar agreement with China Resources covers primarily the provinces and cities of Anhui, Shandong, Hebei, Shanxi, Beijing and Tianjing.

Frank Zheng, managing director of Jade, said that the new distribution agreement with AHM, coupled with the two new relationships recently with Double Crane Medicine and Shanghai SiFul Medicine, all require JJB’s distribution partners to meet minimum sales thresholds of about $3.8 million annually for each distribution agreement.

“Based upon all three distribution agreements and discussions between JJB and its new distribution partners, we believe that there is a potential to increase JPI’s sales in Northern China and the Shanghai regional markets by as much as $24 million over the next 12 month sales cycle,” he said.

Together with Jade, AMDL manufactures pharmaceutical and testing products.

Bridgetech, ValiRx in accord

Bridgetech Holdings International (San Diego), whose focus is on “maximizing the potential of emerging healthcare products and services in the U.S. and Asian markets,” said it has signed a strategic alliance agreement with ValiRx, a UK biopharmaceutical company.

The companies said the agreement governs cooperative efforts in creating and exploiting market and technology transfer initiatives between Europe and China.

“Bridgetech’s ability to excel in the marketplace is in no small part thanks to our set of global alliance partners,” said Michael Chermak, company CEO and chairman. “ValiRx is one of the European industry leaders in cancer therapeutics and diagnostics.”

Satu Vainikka, CEO of ValiRx, said, “We are experienced in successful transferring of technologies and products into the commercial endpoints. ValiRx is excited to execute this alliance agreement with Bridgetech to accelerate the process of taking knowledge generated in laboratories and turning them into market-ready products.”

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