Asuragen Targets Early Diagnosis and Treatment Outcome for Cancer Patients
News Jan 12, 2006
Asuragen, Inc. has announced its plan and direction for the future in biotechnology. Led by Matt Winkler, founder and CEO of Ambion, Inc., Asuragen, is comprised of three business units: Molecular Diagnostics (formerly Ambion Diagnostics, Inc.), Molecular Biology Services (formerly Ambion Services) and Discovery, an R&D focused unit.
Several key executives and research scientists from Ambion are also joining the company. The company will be funded with approximately $35M in proceeds from the December 23rd, $273M sale of Ambion's research products division to Applied Biosystems. This transaction is expected to close in late February.
"Ambion has been a significant leader in the development of enabling technologies for RNA research," Winkler said.
"Academic and industry scientists have used these technologies for research related to the diagnosis and intervention of disease."
"After 17 years of making tools for other scientists to study cancer, I wanted a chance to use those tools me to see if I could make a major impact on cancer diagnosis and treatment."
Asuragen will leverage the RNA expertise developed by Ambion to create diagnostic products that will enhance cancer patient care by facilitating early diagnosis and predicting treatment outcome.
The company has rights to a variety of Ambion and other intellectual properties as well as its own growing portfolio of patents and patent applications for preparing and analyzing nucleic acids within clinical samples.
Asuragen also has an R&D group with experience developing diagnostic assays, identifying biomarkers for diseases such as cancer, and creating technologies that facilitate purification and analysis of RNA and DNA.
Asuragen has the benefit of much of the RNA "know-how" that was Ambion's and has access for the diagnostic markets of Ambion's Intellectual Property.
Winkler said, "Asuragen has all the pieces in place to be a fully integrated molecular diagnostics company with the mission to deliver products and services that serve one of the fastest growing segments of the molecular diagnostics market."
"It is an exciting opportunity and a far cry from when I started Ambion in the loft of my house 17 years ago."
In treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), physicians can have a hard time telling which newly diagnosed patients have a high risk of severe inflammation or what therapies will be most effective. Now researchers report finding an epigenetic signature in patient cells that appears to predict inflammation risk in a serious type of IBD called Crohn’s disease.