A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Power3 Medical Products (Houston), a proteomics company, reported that it has entered into a collaboration agreement with NeoGenomics (Fort Myers, Florida), a genetic testing specialist, to form a joint venture contract research organization (CRO).

Power3 and NeoGenomics will jointly own the CRO, which will focus on commercializing Power3’s portfolio of Intellectual Property, centering on the 523 biomarkers it has discovered from a broad range of diseases, centering on the blood-based tests for breast cancer, ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. The companies said that the CRO will work to further develop diagnostic tests and other services.

Power3 will own a minority interest of the new CRO, with expected launch in 3Q or 4Q07. Power3 will receive $200,000 of working capital from NeoGenomics, and grant NeoGenomics options to increase its stake in Power3, up to 60% of the fully diluted shares.

Power3 will license its proprietary tests and other intellectual property (IP) to the j-v CRO for selected non-FDA approved applications on a non-exclusive basis and provide management personnel. NeoGenomics will provide the CRO with access to cancer samples, management, sales and marketing personnel, laboratory facilities and working capital.

In addition to the 534 biomarkers it has discovered and validated, Power3 says that its IP portfolio includes 17 pending patents and provisional patent applications, plus research agreements and license agreements in the areas of cancer, drug resistance, neurodegenerative disease, and metabolic syndrome.

“This agreement unites recognized leaders of the global scientific and medical communities by bringing together Power3’s proteomic-based biomarkers, intellectual property and extensive bank of clinical samples with NeoGenomics’ unique genetics diagnostic testing development capabilities,” said Dr. Ira Goldknopf, director of proteomics at Power3.

To date, he said, Power3’s “growing database has more than 2,000 clinically significant documented patient samples. We have developed and validated a reproducible and robust proprietary methodology for analyzing disease specific protein biomarkers in human blood serum for diagnostic tests in breast cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Now, with this agreement, Power3 has taken an important step to bring our portfolio of protein biomarkers to market, uniting proteomics with genomics for even greater potential impact.”

Steven Rash, Power3’s CEO and chairman, said that the “ultimate goal [of the j-v] is to build a profitable CRO as quickly as possible that offers a wide array of differentiated services to the research community. Importantly, we expect that the joint venture CRO will be able to generate revenue almost immediately.”

Robert Gasparini, president and chief scientific officer of NeoGenomics, said, “Today, many chronic diseases are not diagnosable until after the patient has had the disease for a significant period of time. We believe that proteomics, along with our focus on genetic pathology, are the two emerging fields likely to give us the technology, tools and answers needed to bridge this gap to earlier detection. Power3 is becoming an emerging force in the proteomics community by developing and validating a process for reproducing protein biomarkers.”

Power3 operates a state-of-the-art proteomics laboratory in The Woodlands (Houston).

NeoGenomics’ testing services include cytogenetics, fluorescence in-situ hybridization, flow cytometry, morphology studies, anatomic pathology and molecular genetic testing. It has labs in Nashville, Irvine, California, and Fort Myers to serve pathologists, oncologists, urologists, hospitals and other reference laboratories throughout the U.S.