Lab21 Limited has secured new patents in Europe and the USA relating to Hepatitis C (HCV) drug resistance as it continues to expand its intellectual property portfolio in infectious disease testing.
The patents cover technology allowing the genotypic identification of drug resistant mutations in the 4 major global genotypes of HCV.
The new patents represent successful extensions of the original European approval, granted in 2009.
The US patent is the first successful patent Lab21 has secured in North America to protect its growing business.
There is significant commercial interest in the development of small molecule HCV therapeutics with two licensed protease (NS3) inhibitors already available and at least 10 new molecules in clinical trials.
Dr Berwyn Clarke, CSO at Lab21 commented: ‘Lab21 has extensive experience in the area of antiretroviral drug resistance from many years of working in HIV. With the number of new HCV therapeutics in development and the changeable nature of the virus, we expect routine resistance analysis for HCV patients to be introduced into clinical guidelines in the near future. Our IP in this area will be of great importance to the clinical management of these patients and will enable easy drug resistance monitoring during clinical trials.
The patents build on Lab21’s growing intellectual property portfolio, which includes pharmacogenetic markers, disease markers and proprietary assay technology.
Lab21 is investing in the development of a number of novel infectious disease and cancer assays which will secure a highly competitive position in diagnostic markets which are undergoing significant change, such as companion diagnostics.
Graham Mullis, Lab21 CEO added ‘The development of an extensive IP portfolio which adds novel content to our offering in the market is an important part of Lab21’s growth strategy. Given the significant market opportunity that HCV drug resistance presents in the future, Lab21 is looking to not only have its own commercially available assay but is actively seeking partners who are interested in developing such products too’.