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Smart Cancer Diagnostics from Austria Impresses in Italy

Published: Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 01, 2011
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tecnet supports successful sales partnership of Anagnostics.

A globally unique diagnostics tool for routine medical operations is now available in Italy for the first time.

To this end, the Austrian company Anagnostics Bioanalysis GmbH has agreed to enter into a sales partnership with Italian Cell.ENG s.r.l. with immediate effect.

The Italian company is thus being granted the rights of sale of an innovative tool for the identification of special mutations. These have a strong influence on the effectiveness of highly efficient - but expensive - cancer therapies.

In order to capture a share of this rapidly growing market, Anagnostics is cooperating with Diatech Pharmacogenetics on the development of further tests.

For the implementation of these important corporate objectives, Anagnostics has been provided with know-how and venture capital from the professionals of tecnet equity NÖ Technologiebeteiligungs-Invest GmbH.

In modern cancer therapies, everything revolves around diagnostics. When cancer cells exhibit special mutations, efficient antibody therapies fail to work - despite their high price.

No wonder then that health insurance companies get the developers of diagnostic tests in motion. And this is particularly the case with the Lower Austrian company Anagnostics: With support from tecnet equity NÖ Technologiebeteiligungs-Invest GmbH and PP Capital AG, a technique based on rotating microarrays has been developed as a tool for cancer companion diagnostics.

Further sales partnerships for a large international market are now in the works.

Sales & Development
As part of the current partnership, the Italian diagnostics company Cell.ENG s.r.l. is being granted exclusive rights of sale for the Italian market. These rights currently include Anagnostics’ first test for the diagnosis of cancer-relevant mutations, as Markus Jaquemar, director sales and marketing, explains: "In some types of cancers, a protein known as an EGF receptor plays an important role. It sends growth signals, which can lead to uninhibited cell division. Advanced therapies can block the EGF receptor - and thus the growth of tumors. Mutations in the KRAS gene, however, lead to this blocking mechanism being circumvented, thereby rendering the therapy ineffective. As these modern therapies cost up to EUR 100,000 a year, the identification of individual features - called companion diagnostics - is becoming increasingly important."

The Anagnostics KRAS test now enables respective mutations to be identified in routine laboratory operations. At the heart of the test is the hybcell: a unique further development of the microarray technology.

Equipped with numerous test fields, the microarray is integrated into a rotating cylinder filled with the sample. In this hybcell, which has already been patented, many test parameters can be measured at the same time thanks to the numerous test fields.

Here, the rotation enables dynamic and thus comprehensive contact between the test field and sample. This facilitates fast response processes.

Thanks to a technology developed by Anagnostics - compact sequencing - this truly "revolutionary" diagnostic technology can now also be used for the identification and quantification of mutations.

Commenting on this technology, Markus Jaquemar said: "Up until now, the real time polymerase chain reaction was considered to be state-of-the-art for companion diagnostics in the area of mutation analysis. Our technology now not only enables faster and unambiguous results, but also higher sensitivity and simpler operation."

For Anagnostics, the KRAS test is the prelude to the development and sale of further tests for cancer companion diagnostics. All of these tests will be developed based on the hybcell technology. Its partner in the development is the Italian-based company Diatech Pharmacogenetics, which is renowned for the development of advanced tests in the area of pharmacogenetics.

Together, the partners will develop combined tests for the KRAS, BRAF and EGFR gene, which, in addition to Italy, will be sold across the European market by further sales partners.

Dr. Doris Agneter, CEO of tecnet equity, comments the rapid business development of Anagnostics: "The hybcell technology has already been successfully launched on the market by Anagnostics in recent years. First for drug tests, and then for verifying infectious diseases. Working together with tecnet, the product range has been expanded for the companion diagnostics market. The joint establishment of a sales structure in one of the largest markets in Europe is a consequent, additional success story."

Dr. Petra Bohuslav, Provincial Councilor for Economic Affairs, Tourism, Technology and Sports in Lower Austria, welcomed the company's international market presence: "The successful support of Anagnostics by tecnet is also a result of our 2015 growth strategy for Lower Austria. The aim of this strategy is to support companies to penetrate new markets and thus enhance their competitiveness."

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