Orion Genomics Enters Exclusive Worldwide Licensing Agreement with Johns Hopkins University
News Jun 12, 2008
Orion Genomics announced that the company entered into a worldwide exclusive license agreement with The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to commercialize products that identify patients at risk for colorectal cancer.
The license is based on a suite of issued and pending JHU patents covering imprinting abnormalities of the insulin-like growth factor 2 gene (IGF2). Orion's simple blood-based risk assessment test is being designed to identify people who carry the IGF2 biomarker and may be at increased risk of developing sporadic colorectal cancer.
It is expected that the test will enable at-risk patients to undergo screening for colorectal cancer significantly earlier, allowing physicians to remove precancerous polyps and prevent future colon cancer.
Two published studies involving more than 200 patients have found that colorectal cancer and adenoma patients are at least five times more likely to carry the IGF2 biomarker than age-matched cancer-free patients serving as controls.
"We are pleased to obtain this exclusive license from The Johns Hopkins University to complete the development of our lead cancer risk assessment product and enter the market in the near future," said Nathan D. Lakey, President and CEO of Orion Genomics.
"Our colorectal cancer risk test has the potential to save lives by identifying a group of high risk individuals who are likely to develop colorectal cancer at a younger age, and who should undergo colonoscopy screening 10 to 20 years earlier than the age that is currently recommended."
Loss of imprinting of IGF2 is a non-heritable epigenetic mutation detected in the blood of seven to 10 percent of the general population. Although epigenetic mutations do not affect the DNA sequence of a gene, cancer associated epigenetic changes can either turn off or "silence" genes that normally suppress cancer, or can inappropriately turn on genes that can lead to malignant cellular activity.
Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University are participating in a large multi-center prospective trial to study the link between the IGF2 biomarker and colorectal cancer.
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.