Colorectal cancer is a growing disease burden in the U.S., with roughly 140,000 new cases diagnosed each year, according to the National Cancer Institute. A number of companies are looking to combat the disease and allow doctors to find it early enough to help patients. Ann Arbor, MI-based Everist Genomics, which we profiled in our 5 innovative Michigan companies report last year, is one of those companies. And today it announced the launch of a comprehensive companion diagnostics and prognostics portfolio to improve early diagnosis, management and treatment of colorectal cancer patients.
Everist's portfolio includes four tests to help physicians track tumor development and treatment response. These features allow for personalized treatment in all stages of colorectal cancer, according to the company. The tests will be available to U.S. customers starting at the end of the month.
"Development of our portfolio required pinpointing the handful of genes and specific gene expression levels that affect how these tumors develop and how they respond to chemotherapy," explained Executive Vice Chairman Alex Charlton. "In the past, an effort of this magnitude might require 10 years of research and analysis. Everist Genomics accomplished all this in just two years by integrating the company's deep expertise in genomics and molecular diagnostics with our proprietary computer-based algorithm for analyzing and evaluating the specific molecular markers that are associated with specific prognoses."
However, Everist isn't just focusing on helping colorectal cancer patients. It's also looking to combat cardiovascular and metabolic diseases using mobile digital services, smartphones and tablet computers. And 2011 was a big year for the company, which announced commercialization plans for its CardioDefender diagnostic system that gives doctors continuous heart rhythm monitoring for patients, so it can detect heart arrhythmias. It also saw the launch of OncoDefender-CRC, a molecular diagnostic test that identifies patients at high risk of cancer recurrence.
All of these developments should spur growth at the Ann Arbor company. In December, Charlton told Xconomy that the company, which employed 53 people at the time, should add 10 to 15 more people in the first half of this year.
- check out the Everist release
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Special Report: Everist Genomics - 5 Innovative Michigan companies