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OGeS and University of Oxford to Develop Clinical Biomarkers for Colorectal Cancer

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Oxford Genome Sciences (UK) Ltd (OGeS) has announced that it has entered into collaboration with the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Oxford to discover new clinical biomarkers for colorectal cancer (CRC).

The collaboration forms part of a consortium, which was initiated in 2005 with funding from GE Healthcare with the aim of developing an integrated personalised approach to the diagnosis, stratification, treatment and monitoring of CRC patients.

Over the next two years, OGeS will play an integral role in the consortium and will apply its proteomics expertise and it proprietary OGAP™ database towards two key objectives:

- To identify new approaches for the early differential diagnosis of early stage CRC patients versus late invasive stage cancer patients with liver disease and poor prognosis. If successful this differential diagnosis will lead to patients receiving the most appropriate treatment for the stage of their disease

- To identify additional protein biomarkers of recurring disease with a poor outcome that will determine if a personalized approach based on the use of novel 'targeted' agents will be more effective than standard chemotherapy treatment of CRC patients, which is effective in only a small proportion of patients.

OGeS is already working with Biosite Inc. in the US to develop an improved diagnostic for relapsing CRC based on novel biomarkers which it had previously identified using its OGAP database.

OGeS will develop this panel of biomarkers by conducting an integrated analysis of protein profiles of blood samples from CRC patients and related genetic variations and risk factors.

"Colorectal cancer (CRC) is responsible for an estimated half a million deaths per year in the Western world alone, and the earlier it is detected the more likely we will be able to successfully treat patients," said Professor David Kerr, Rhodes Professor of Therapeutic Sciences and Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Oxford and a member of the OGeS Scientific Advisory Board.

"The personalised approach to cancer therapy has already proved successful in treating certain forms of breast cancer and CRC will require similar approaches."

"CRC has become an enormous focus of drug research for big pharma," said Dr Christian Rohlff, CEO of OGeS.

"Many of these new therapies target specific molecular features and pathways of CRC. OGeS being part of this important project is recognition of the increasing importance of an integrated approach across different genomics and proteomics platforms to increase our understanding of complex diseases such as CRC."

"Furthermore, we are privileged to be part of this consortium and excited that our expertise and technologies could be crucial as a potential source of new clinical biomarkers from which accurate and reliable diagnostics and disease monitoring technologies could be developed."

"We see this deal as an important extension of our involvement in this field and it promises to provide us with additional opportunities to our current alliance with Biosite Inc. to develop a new diagnostic for relapsing CRC patients."