Med BioGene Inc. and the University Health Network (UHN) announced that they have entered into license and collaboration agreements providing MBI with exclusive, world-wide rights to develop and commercialize a critical prognostic test for early stage non-small-cell lung cancer developed by UHN. The test will be marketed under MBI's trade name LungExpress Dx™.
LungExpress Dx™ is a gene expression-based assay that provides valuable information regarding each patient's prognosis for survival to more effectively guide treatment and improve the selection of patients for chemotherapy following surgical removal of their cancerous tumor.
By using LungExpress Dx™, physicians and their patients may effectively determine, in the case of patients predicted to have a good prognosis, whether to avoid unnecessary, highly toxic and expensive chemotherapy or, in the case of patients predicted to have a poor prognosis, to undergo chemotherapy to increase the likelihood of a cure. By assisting in targeting treatment to those patients who are most likely to benefit, the test has the potential to improve patient outcomes and save substantial treatment. If diagnosed early and properly treated, lung cancer may be cured.
Diagnosis and treatment of patients with lung cancer costs approximately $9.6 billion per year in the United States alone, with an average per patient expenditure of approximately $21,000 in the first year following diagnosis.
The prognostic assay was developed over the last four years by a UHN team of experienced and internationally acclaimed researchers and physicians at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.
The team was led by Dr. Ming-Sound Tsao, holder of the M. Qasim Choksi Chair in Lung Cancer Translational Research, and Dr. Frances A. Shepherd, holder of the Scott Taylor Chair in Lung Cancer Research and the Chair of the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group Lung Cancer Site. Drs. Tsao and Shepherd have in total authored more than 400 articles in peer reviewed journals.
Dr. Tsao noted, "We are proud of the work our team is doing in lung cancer prognosis and in inventing this novel test. We are looking forward to working with Med BioGene to develop this test so that future patients can benefit from our research discoveries."
"This test has the potential to make an immediate impact upon patient care by providing a more significant understanding of each patient's cancer, thus resulting in better-informed, more appropriate treatment decisions. We are moving much closer to the ultimate goal of personalized medicine," said Dr. Shepherd.
The UHN team initially reported the results of their research at the 11th World Conference of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer and the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research, with full publication most recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
UHN and MBI will collaborate in even larger-scale testing to confirm the results of LungExpress Dx™ prior to commercialization.