OGT signs licensing deal for colorectal cancer biomarkers

OGT signs licensing deal for colorectal cancer biomarkers
Wednesday 22 February 2012

Oxford Gene Technology (OGT), provider of innovative clinical genetics and diagnostic solutions to advance molecular medicine, announced today that it has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Inven2, the technology transfer office at Oslo University Hospital (OUS) and University of Oslo (UiO), for 12 highly promising colorectal cancer tissue biomarkers.

The exclusive license allows OGT to commercialise any resulting test developed using these biomarkers and to sublicense the markers to other parties. The DNA methylation biomarkers were developed in the laboratory of Professor Ragnhild A. Lothe, in the department of Cancer Prevention, the Norwegian Radium Hospital, part of the Oslo University Hospital.

OGT has validated the results obtained in Professor Lothe's laboratory showing sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 90% when using tissue biopsies. Further work investigating the efficacy of these biomarkers in blood and faecal samples is ongoing.

"This licensing agreement gives OGT exclusive access to genetic markers which are associated with colorectal cancer." stated Mike Evans, CEO, of OGT. "We believe that developing tests that include these genetic markers will permit the earlier identification of patients at risk of this disease and allow for more timely diagnosis and clinical interventions." He added, "The higher specificity of this new panel of markers could provide a more robust screening tool than the tests currently used, while eventually lowering overall costs, which would be of significant benefit for both patients and the clinicians using them."

"Biomarkers have the potential to greatly improve the accuracy and impact of colorectal cancer screening." commented Professor Lothe, from the Norwegian Radium Hospital. "We look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts with OGT to develop and validate a future test which will help screen people early for this treatable form of cancer."

Benedicte Bakke, Business Development Manager at Inven2 AS, Oslo technology transfer office, concluded: "We fully support the collaboration with Oxford Gene Technology to develop a new method of detecting colorectal cancer using these biomarkers. This deal demonstrates the importance of industry and academic collaboration in turning scientific excellence into products that address medical needs."
For more information, please contact:

Oxford Gene Technology

Stephen Archibald, Marketing Communications Manager

Oxford Gene Technology, Begbroke Science Park, Sandy Lane, Yarnton, Oxford OX5 1PF
T: +44 (0) 1865 856826 ; F: +44 (0) 1865 848684 ; E: [email protected] ; W: www.ogt.co.uk

College Hill (PR Agency for OGT)

Melanie Toyne Sewell / Jayne Crook

College Hill, The Registry, Royal Mint Court, London, EC3N 4QN
T: +44 (0) 20 7457 2020 ; E:[email protected]


Benedicte Bakke, Business Development Manager

Inven2, Forskningsparken, Gaustadalléen 21, N - 0349 Oslo
T: +47 03 44 40 29 ; E:[email protected] ; W:www.inven2.com

Notes for editors:

About Oxford Gene Technology

Founded by Professor Ed Southern, Oxford Gene Technology (OGT) provides innovative clinical genetics and diagnostic solutions to advance molecular medicine.  The company has two trading businesses, Biomarker Discovery and Clinical & Genomic Solutions.  Biomarker Discovery: OGT delivers tailored biomarker discovery solutions that optimise drug and diagnostic development programmes. With expertise in genomic and proteomic diagnostic biomarkers, OGT provides highly specific customised biomarker panels for cancer and other diseases, both for direct sale and also for collaboration with partner companies.  Clinical & Genomic Solutions: OGT's Genefficiency™ is a unique combination of world-leading platforms, people, processing power and performance synchronised to deliver rapid, high-quality genomic data to customers worldwide. OGT's CytoSure™ cytogenetics array, labelling and interpretation software products and services provide a complete solution for the detection of chromosomal abnormalities. Together, Genefficiency and CytoSure offer a unique, standardised and integrated solution for cytogenetics research.

For more information on the Company, please visit our website at: www.ogt.co.uk

CytoSure: For research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

About Inven2

Inven2 is the Technology Transfer Office for the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital, Norway's largest and leading university and hospital representing pioneering research. Inven2 is the largest contributor in Norway within the field of commercialization of research within Life Science. For more information on Inven2, please visit our website at: www.inven2.com

Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer (commonly known as colon or bowel cancer) is the 2nd most common cancer in women (behind breast) and the 3rd most common cancer in men (behind prostate and lung). Worldwide, 1.23 million new cases of bowel cancer were diagnosed in 2008. The chance of cure is much better if this cancer is detected at an early stage rather than at a later stage.  In the past decade, there has been unprecedented progress in reducing colorectal cancer incidence and death rates; this progress has come about largely through the prevention and early detection of colorectal cancer through screening. However, it is estimated that there could be further improvement ― up to 20,000 fewer deaths from colorectal cancer over the next 20 years ― if just 60% of those eligible took up the invitation for bowel screening (Cancer research UK).


Colorectal cancer screening

In the UK, the current primary screening tool is the faecal occult blood test in England (FOBt; the Faecal immunochemical test, FIT, is used in Scotland). The test is based on determining the presence/absence of blood within a patients stool. Although the test does not diagnose colorectal cancer it directs patients for further evaluation should a positive test be returned to the health care professional. This could ultimately lead to a further examination entailing a colonoscopy. However, the presence of blood in the faeces can be due to a number of factors and so for every 10 people who undergo a colonoscopy 7 will have a 'normal' result. The poor positive predictive value of the FOBt leads to unnecessary concern for the patient and a huge cost implication for the NHS.

Consequently, there is a need for a robust preventive strategy that can stratify patients into appropriate screening or surveillance programmes for the early detection of cancer. Internationally, the chosen modality of colorectal cancer screening varies, with cost and availability of diagnostic resources likely to be leading factors influencing programme design. The majority of countries, where a national screening programme exists, employ the FOBt (inclusive of Japan and Taiwan). In North America and other European countries, there is ongoing regional colorectal cancer research initiatives/pilot programmes intended to evaluate the potential of implementing national screening programmes.

Recently, there has been growing interest in investigating biomarkers (aberrant hypermethylation of CpG islands) in patients who suffer from colorectal cancer to develop more accurate and patient-friendly tests