LEXINGTON, Mass.—Cytomyx Holdings Plc announced last month that its U.S. subsidiary entered into an agreement with OriGene Technologies Inc., whereby Cytomyx will provide hundreds of highly characterized RNA tissue samples representing a wide range of cancers to OriGene, which will use the samples to develop new generations of its Rapid-Scan gene expression panel product line.
For Cytomyx, the deal comes mere months after it acquired from Ardais a biorepository of 130,000 clinically annotated specimens. "That created a series of opportunities to work with old partners and new friends," says Mike Kerins, Cytomyx CEO. "We were very familiar with and recognized OriGene's strength in gene analysis and we have all this content, if you like, in our biorepository. Putting the two together just made a lot of sense."
The intent in developing the new generations of the Rapid-Scan panels is to allow researchers to assess gene expression levels across a wide range of patients with different forms and stages of the major cancers represented by Cytomyx's cancer tissue samples. Rich Hamer, vice president at OriGene, says the quality and breadth of the samples available from Cytomyx helped seal the deal.
"We had been playing around with some of their samples earlier in the year and we were impressed by the depth of the pathology and their ability to accurately track the samples they were providing," Hamer says.
"Our biorepository is a tremendously diverse collection and it has incredible clinical data," says Kerins. "That is the heart of of the deal and is what enabled it."
Cytomyx delivered the first collection of samples to OriGene late in the second quarter. The first expression panels from OriGene target colon cancer. This will be followed by panels for lung cancer—which should be available by year-end—ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and others in the coming year. In all, the two companies expect to collaborate on as many as 10 oncologies over the course of the agreement.