Investors in the CHF 10 million A-round were Novartis Venture Fund, NeoMed, and Initiative Capital Romandie. The Novartis Venture Fund was also a seed investor in the company.
"We are very pleased to welcome Debiopharm to our investor base. Debiopharm is one of the most respected development companies globally and we look forward to benefit from their development expertise and in-depth knowledge of the cancer market," said Lothar Wieczorek, Ph.D., Executive Chairman of Diagnoplex.
"Molecular cancer diagnostics is rapidly becoming an integral part of the healthcare continuum, providing innovative screening solutions and companion diagnostics for targeted therapies. The alliance between Diagnoplex and Debiopharm will support our objective to advance personalised cancer care by bringing our lead product Colox to patients worldwide," said Stavros Therianos, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and founder of Diagnoplex.
"We believe Diagnoplex is well-positioned to address a huge unmet medical need in colon cancer screening. The company has made strong progress over the past two years and we are happy to contribute to its continued growth and development," said Thierry Mauvernay, Executive Vice-President of Debiopharm Group.
Diagnoplex lead product - Colox
Diagnoplex is currently conducting a clinical validation study of its lead product Colox, a non-invasive, blood-based test for the early detection of colon cancer. The study involves nine centres in Switzerland, Germany, and South Korea, and will enrol 1400 individuals. Interim results are anticipated by mid-2011. Early results obtained in a training set of 140 individuals have shown that Colox can even detect adenomatous polyps, which represent the pre-cancerous stage of the disease. Early detection and subsequent intervention by colonoscopy will have an important impact on the prevention of colon cancer, a cancer with a high mortality. Indeed, it has been demonstrated that survival rates improve up to 90% when colorectal cancer is detected early.
Diagnoplex technology platform
Leveraging its unique and proprietary molecular platform capabilities together with state-of-the-art biostatistical tools, Diagnoplex develops blood-based cancer diagnostic tests. Diagnoplex's platform, which is based on RT-qPCR allows quantifying up to 60 genes simultaneously. The Diagnoplex approach offers several important competitive advantages. It pairs the high accuracy and reliability of quantitative PCR with the possibility to read out and analyse multi-gene signatures of different cancers. As opposed to microarray platforms, it is easily scalable and can be run in most standard testing laboratories. Stavros Therianos, Ph.D., founder and Chief Executive Officer of Diagnoplex, developed the platform during his tenure at University of Rochester, NY.
About Debiopharm GroupTM
Debiopharm Group(TM) (Debiopharm) is a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical group of companies with a focus on the development of prescription drugs that target unmet medical needs. The group in-licenses, develops and/or co-develops promising biological and small molecule drug candidates having reached clinical development phases I, II or III. Debiopharm is also prepared to consider earlier stage candidates. It develops its products for global registration and maximum commercial potential. The products are out-licensed to pharmaceutical partners for sales and marketing. Besides drug development, Debiopharm Group has recently embarked in the field of companion diagnostics with a view to progressing in the area of personalised medicine.