ENZO BIOCHEM RECEIVES APPROVAL FOR NOVEL BLOODBASED TEST FOR COLORECTAL CANCER RISK
New York State Approves ColonSentry™ RNAExpression Assay
First in Pipeline of Unique Products to beoffered through Company's Clinical Laboratory
NEWYORK, NY, February 21, 2012 – Enzo Biochem, Inc. (NYSE:ENZ) today announcedthat 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) andrequires only a small blood sample which can be collected during a routineblood draw. Enzo plans to begin offering the assay to its clientele in March2012.
TheColonSentry™ test uses RNA contained in blood to measure the level of theexpression of seven genes. These genes serve as biomarkers whose levels canreflect the current presence or severity of a disease state. Interpretation ofthe status of these seven biomarkers can allow physicians to identify patientswho have an increased current risk of having colorectal cancer. Thetest requires only a small sample of blood and can thus be easily incorporatedas a pre-screening measure into routine yearly physical exams.
"Theapproval of this assay underscores the execution of our strategic plan to buildour company into a unique developer and provider of high value molecular andesoteric products and services", said Barry Weiner, President of Enzo Biochem."By utilizing the technological and assay development expertise of ourLife Sciences group along with the translational medicine capabilities we havebuilt at Enzo Clinical Labs, we have been able to develop a robust pipeline ofproducts and technologies designed for today's healthcare market. We expect toannounce additional developments arising from Enzo's unique integratedoperating structure in the weeks ahead. Presently, Enzo Biochem is the only labin the US that is approved to offer this assay."
"Withrespect to ColonSentry™, we can now provide physicians with a new tool fortheir patients in assessing their risk for having colorectal cancer with asimple blood test. The information provided by this test can guide theirrecommendation for a colonoscopy. We know that patient compliance forcolonoscopies is low—the ColonSentry™ test is a non-invasive method thatprovides strong guidance to recommend a colonoscopy. Evidence supported recommendations can leadto higher compliance, potentially contributing to earlier detection ofcolorectal cancer and fewer deaths," he added.
Dr. Joseph Felder, a Gastroenterologist in NewYork City said, "Identifying ahigher risk for colon cancer in a given patient may give us a way to improvecompliance with colonoscopy in those who are hesitant to be screened."
Accordingthe American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause ofcancer-related deaths in the United States when men and women are consideredseparately, and the second leading cause when both sexes are combined. It isexpected to be the central cause of about 49,380 deaths in 2011.
Inaddition, excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most commoncancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The AmericanCancer Society's most recent numbers estimate 101,700 new cases of colon cancerand 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 riskis slightly lower in women than in men.
Thereare a number of risk factors for colon cancer including age, a history of colonpolyps, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity and a family history ofcolon cancer. Lifestyle risks include smoking, a diet that is high in red meatsand processed meats, physical inactivity and heavy alcohol use.
Earlydetection of colon cancer is considered the best way to improve a patient'schance of survival. While 90% ofcolorectal cancer cases can be cured if detected early, the 5 year survivalrate drops to 10% when detected late.
EnzoBiochem is a pioneer in molecular diagnostics, leading the convergence ofclinical laboratories, life sciences and therapeutics through the developmentof unique diagnostic platform technologies that provide numerous advantagesover previous standards. A global company, Enzo Biochem utilizescross-functional teams to develop and rapidly deploy products systems andservices that meet the ever-changing and rapidly growing needs of health careboth today and into the future. Underpinning Enzo Biochem's products andtechnologies is a broad and deep intellectual property portfolio, with patent coverage across a number of key enablingtechnologies.