Agendia scores $6.8M grant for study of molecular Dx technology in colorectal cancer

René Bernards, Agendia's chief scientific officer

Agendia nabbed a $6.8 million grant from the European Commission to use its diagnostic technology to identify certain subtypes of colorectal cancer (CRC), a boost for the company as it forges ahead with its products and gains regulatory approval for its tests.

The Dutch company, along with several, unnamed European partners, will use the funds to study targeted therapies for molecular subtypes of CRC and determine which treatment is best suited for patients. Agendia, which also has operations in Irvine, CA, will lend its tests to the initiative to uncover the molecular subtype of each patient's tumor.

The four-year project, dubbed "MoTriColor," will include 10 institutions in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Italy, and two major pharma companies are expected to sign onto the research, Agendia said in a statement. Phase II studies will be carried out in Europe that look at patients with advanced forms of the disease.

"Our technology has already demonstrated the value of this approach for breast cancer. The MoTriColor study is expected to show that a similar therapeutic strategy can benefit colon cancer patients," René Bernards, Agendia's chief scientific officer, said in a statement.

New funding comes at a critical moment for Agendia as it pushes for expanded use of its molecular subtyping technology. The company has already made progress with its MammaPrint 70-gene breast cancer test that predicts the disease's recurrence, nabbing an additional FDA 510(k) clearance for the product in February. Now, Agendia is exploring a similar trajectory for its ColoPrint colon cancer test.

But the company will need cash to keep its engine running. Agendia has already has some success in fundraising, roping in $65 million in a private round of equity financing in 2012 to beef up commercial development of its molecular subtyping tests. The round came a little more than a year after the company launched an IPO valued at €90 million ($98 million) to ramp up operations.

- here's the release