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Mayo Clinic Forms Joint Venture with Cancer Genetics

Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, May 23, 2013
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OncoSpire Genomics will seek to discover and commercialize biomarkers for multiple cancer types.

Mayo Clinic and Cancer Genetics Inc. launched OncoSpire Genomics ("OncoSpire"), a joint venture with the singular goal of improving cancer care by discovering and commercializing diagnostic tests that leverage next-generation sequencing.

OncoSpire will focus on mutually identified projects in the Biomarker Discovery Program within Mayo’s Center for Individualized Medicine. Initial focus areas will include hematological and urogenital cancers, and potentially other cancers, as selected by a scientific review committee. OncoSpire will be based in Rochester, Minn., and will be equally owned by Cancer Genetics and Mayo Clinic. Cancer Genetics will contribute operating capital, commercial expertise and other guidance. Mayo will contribute in-kind with sequencing and laboratory resources, clinical and research expertise, and other operational resources.

“We expect this new venture to accelerate cancer biomarker discovery research already underway at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center,” says Robert Diasio, M.D., cancer researcher and director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. “Transforming discoveries into individualized cancer therapies will benefit patients, so we are excited to be part of these efforts.”

Research will be conducted in genetics and life sciences labs at Mayo Clinic, including Mayo’s Center for Individualized Medicine Biomarker Discovery Program and the medical genome facility, a resource that allows medical researchers to investigate how individual differences in the structure and function of human genomes influence health outcomes.

Technological advances, such as next-generation sequencing, have driven down the cost to perform whole genome sequencing. What originally took $3 billion over 13 years for the Human Genome Project and the first human genome sequence can now be accomplished for a few thousand dollars in a matter of days.

Panna Sharma, CEO of Cancer Genetics, says: “The combination of resources we are bringing together positions OncoSpire Genomics to create a major impact in the development of advanced genomic-based cancer diagnostics. Our investment in OncoSpire Genomics represents the potential for a paradigm shift in patient management that can result in more efficient use of health care resources, ultimately improving the cost structure of cancer diagnosis and treatment. We expect this will add value to our commercial offerings as next-generation sequencing becomes more widely accepted by the clinical community. A major factor behind our decision to work with Mayo was the depth of their world-class clinicians and thought leaders, who we believe are in a position to drive clinical value and clinical adoption for the tests being created by OncoSpire Genomics.”

Mayo Medical Laboratories and Mayo Clinic’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology will work with Mayo’s Center for Individualized Medicine to help bring discoveries from the joint venture to patients at Mayo Clinic and elsewhere. According to Frost & Sullivan, a health care industry analyst, the U.S. cancer biomarker testing market is expected to reach $11.5 billion by 2017.

“Next-generation sequencing will change the future of health care, especially in complex disease categories such as cancer,” says R.S.K. Chaganti, Ph.D., founder and chairman of Cancer Genetics. “We are pleased to have forged this new relationship with Mayo with the goal of furthering next-generation sequencing technologies. Cancer Genetics’ strength in hematological and urogenital cancers brings a tremendous knowledge base to the partnership. Together we can make a significant impact in the pursuit of personalized medicine that is transforming cancer treatment.”

OncoSpire has formed a scientific review committee, which is composed of six researchers, thought leaders and clinicians.

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