RUTHERFORD, N.J.—In an Oct. 8 announcement that sent its share value up 16 percent premarket, Cancer Genetics announced a newly inked collaboration deal with Cellaria LLC, under which the pair plan to develop “extensive precision medicine tools and platform technologies” to support the development of new cancer therapeutics. They report that they will concentrate their genomics testing and pharmacology development efforts on solid tumors in both primary and metastatic disease.
Cancer Genetics considers itself a leader in enabling precision medicine for immuno-oncology and genomics through molecular markers and diagnostics, and it will deploy its Genomics Center of Excellence to characterize Cellaria’s pipeline of commercial and custom-developed biopharma products, as well as leverage its biomarker and genomics testing capabilities to get a better handle on issues related to patient diversity in various clinical disease categories.
Meanwhile, there is Cellaria, which bills itself as a scientific innovator that develops revolutionary new cancer models and will bring its expertise with in-vitro work to add to Cancer Genetics’s pharmacology expertise and create innovative models “that provide detailed, and patient-specific, assessment of response to therapy,” as the companies put it.
“This collaboration came about as part of our 2018 transformation strategy. The addition of Cellaria as a channel partner and access to their in-vitro capabilities will greatly enhance our preclinical and biopharma offerings,” explained John A. Roberts, CEO of Cancer Genetics. “We are also looking forward to utilizing our genomics and pharmacology services to develop novel and informative, oncology models for Cellaria and Cellaria’s biopharma clients that will accelerate their drug discovery and development efforts.”
For his part, Cellaria CEO David Deems noted, “Cellaria has a unique business model of generating innovative in-vitro disease models which mimic patients’ tumor biology. These models are crucial for accelerating therapeutic research and personalized medicine. The opportunity to collaborate with Cancer Genetics to leverage their robust genomics centers and pharmacology capabilities will advance our mission of building comprehensive and accurate tools for precision oncology.”
The news came a couple weeks after another Cancer Genetics announcement that the company had signed a non-exclusive supply agreement with Agilent Technologies Inc., through which Agilent will manufacture Cancer Genetics’ proprietary fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH) probe reagents.
Under the terms of the agreement, Agilent will manufacture and supply Cancer Genetics with the custom probe for use in the Company’s FISH-based HPV-Associated Cancer Test (FHACT). Additionally, Cancer Genetics plans to out-license the probes through domestic and international distribution channels, with such licensors having the ability to purchase probes manufactured by Agilent.
As Roberts of Cancer Genetics noted of the official deal: “We are pleased to finalize our agreement with Agilent, who has established itself as a leader in delivering solutions for scientific research, especially in manufacturing of FISH probes. This agreement marks an important milestone for Cancer Genetics and the company’s FHACT test, as it allows for expansion of our international business opportunities by outlicensing our probes, which is an integral part of the company’s new strategy for revenue generation and path to profitability.”
Cancer Genetics’ FHACT is, the company says, the only four-color FISH probe available for cervical cancer testing. When used as an additional triage before colposcopy, FHACT reportedly can help identify women with low-grade or undetermined lesions (ASCUS/LSIL) who are likely to progress to more advanced cervical disease—thus potentially reducing healthcare costs, relieving patient anxiety and preventing complications associated with over-treatment by reducing the number of unnecessary colposcopies performed.