Fujikura Exercises Option to License Cellmid’s Diagnostics
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Cellmid Limited has received confirmation that Fujikura Kasei Co Ltd (Fujikura) will exercise its Option to license the midkine (MK) diagnostic technology by paying the requisite JPY40 million (AUD 440,000) Milestone Fee.
Under the terms of the Option to License agreement, which was signed between the companies in February 2013, Cellmid supplied Fujikura with its proprietary anti-midkine diagnostic antibodies for validation on Fujikura’s latex platform.
Proceeding to a license agreement was conditional on Fujikura reaching accuracy of 500 picogram/ml midkine on its latex diagnostic platform using Cellmid’s antibodies.
Fujikura has since completed this milestone, reached the required accuracy and advised Cellmid of its intention to exercise its Option.
The parties will now proceed to a supply and license agreement for the development and marketing of multiple cancer diagnostic products using Fujikura’s latex assay with Cellmid’s MK antibodies.
The license between the parties is expected to grant exclusive rights to Fujikura to use Cellmid’s proprietary antibodies for latex based tests.
In return, Fujikura will pay royalties on products sold. Product development and marketing costs will be borne by Fujikura.
A latex based test with a 500 picogram/ml accuracy can be used reliably to identify individuals with elevated midkine levels. This in turn is expected to lead to the development of a number of cancer diagnostic products.
Cellmid will support Fujikura’s regulatory and product development programmes with its MK diagnostic expertise.
Cellmid has a highly accurate MK-ELISA already, however a latex based assay will be suitable for commercial products, as it is widely used and accepted in pathology laboratories. It is also preferred as it can easily be automated, reducing processing costs.
Fujikura Kasei is one of the largest suppliers of latex particles for the medical diagnostics industry in Japan. While traditionally servicing other industries with polymers and resins, Fujikura has been actively expanding into medical diagnostics.
“We are pleased with the progress of our project with Cellmid and looking forward to developing and marketing a number of cancer diagnostic products using midkine as a key marker on our platform” said Fujikura’s Head of Medical Project Division, Dr Hideyuki Kuroda.
Cellmid CEO Maria Halasz said she was impressed by Fujikura’s technical skills in developing a latex based midkine test.
“With Fujikura’s strong focus on building market share in proprietary cancer tests our MK diagnostic technology is in good hands” she said.
Midkine has been extensively validated as an early marker for a range of cancers and has been shown to be useful in prognosis and disease management.
A license agreement involving MK for the early diagnosis, prognosis and disease monitoring of lung cancer was signed in 2009 with Celera-Quest, and for bladder cancer in 2010 with Pacific Edge Biotechnology.
A license with Fujikura Kasei involving multiple cancer indications further validates the Company’s technology, including the quality of its reagents.