Enzo Biochem Receives Approval for Novel Blood Based Test for Colorectal Cancer Risk
New York State Approves ColonSentry™ RNA Expression Assay
First in Pipeline of Unique Products to be offered through Company's Clinical Laboratory
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Enzo Biochem, Inc. (NYSE:ENZ) today announced that the New York State Department of Health has approved Enzo Clinical Labs' use of the ColonSentry™ test for providing an assessment of a patient's risk of having colorectal cancer. The ColonSentry™ test was originally developed by GeneNews (TSX: GEN) and requires only a small blood sample which can be collected during a routine blood draw. Enzo plans to begin offering the assay to its clientele in March 2012.
The ColonSentry™ test uses RNA contained in blood to measure the level of the expression of seven genes. These genes serve as biomarkers whose levels can reflect the current presence or severity of a disease state. Interpretation of the status of these seven biomarkers can allow physicians to identify patients who have an increased current risk of having colorectal cancer. The test requires only a small sample of blood and can thus be easily incorporated as a pre-screening measure into routine yearly physical exams.
"The approval of this assay underscores the execution of our strategic plan to build our company into a unique developer and provider of high value molecular and esoteric products and services", said Barry Weiner, President of Enzo Biochem. "By utilizing the technological and assay development expertise of our Life Sciences group along with the translational medicine capabilities we have built at Enzo Clinical Labs, we have been able to develop a robust pipeline of products and technologies designed for today's healthcare market. We expect to announce additional developments arising from Enzo's unique integrated operating structure in the weeks ahead. Presently, Enzo Biochem is the only lab in the US that is approved to offer this assay."
"With respect to ColonSentry™, we can now provide physicians with a new tool for their patients in assessing their risk for having colorectal cancer with a simple blood test. The information provided by this test can guide their recommendation for a colonoscopy. We know that patient compliance for colonoscopies is low—the ColonSentry™ test is a non-invasive method that provides strong guidance to recommend a colonoscopy. Evidence supported recommendations can lead to higher compliance, potentially contributing to earlier detection of colorectal cancer and fewer deaths," he added.
Dr. Joseph Felder, a Gastroenterologist in New York City said, "Identifying a higher risk for colon cancer in a given patient may give us a way to improve compliance with colonoscopy in those who are hesitant to be screened."
About Colon Cancer
According the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States when men and women are considered separately, and the second leading cause when both sexes are combined. It is expected to be the central cause of about 49,380 deaths in 2011.
In addition, excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society's most recent numbers estimate 101,700 new cases of colon cancer and 39,510 new cases of rectal cancer in the United States in 2011. Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 20. This risk is slightly lower in women than in men.
There are a number of risk factors for colon cancer including age, a history of colon polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity and a family history of colon cancer. Lifestyle risks include smoking, a diet that is high in red meats and processed meats, physical inactivity and heavy alcohol use.
Early detection of colon cancer is considered the best way to improve a patient's chance of survival. While 90% of colorectal cancer cases can be cured if detected early, the 5 year survival rate drops to 10% when detected late.
About Enzo Biochem
Enzo Biochem is a pioneer in molecular diagnostics, leading the convergence of clinical laboratories, life sciences and therapeutics through the development of unique diagnostic platform technologies that provide numerous advantages over previous standards. A global company, Enzo Biochem utilizes cross-functional teams to develop and rapidly deploy products systems and services that meet the ever-changing and rapidly growing needs of health care both today and into the future. Underpinning Enzo Biochem's products and technologies is a broad and deep intellectual property portfolio, with patent coverage across a number of key enabling technologies.
Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this news release may be considered "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such statements include declarations regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of the Company and its management, including those related to cash flow, gross margins, revenues, and expenses are dependent on a number of factors outside of the control of the company including, inter alia, the markets for the Company's products and services, costs of goods and services, other expenses, government regulations, litigations, and general business conditions. See Risk Factors in the Company's Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2011. Investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could materially affect actual results. The Company disclaims any obligations to update any forward-looking statement as a result of developments occurring after the date of this press release.
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Julie A. Johnson, 503-883-9103
For Enzo Biochem, Inc.
Anreder & Company
Steven Anreder, 212-532-3232
Michael Wachs, 212-732-4300