Vela Diagnostics licenses Swift Biosciences cancer detection tech

Singapore's Vela Diagnostics inked a new licensing deal with Swift Biosciences to license some of the startup's core technology in order to boost the capacity of its own cancer tests, Xconomy reports. The deal is a major one for Swift, a maker of reagents for diagnostics and lab work, which launched less than three years ago.

The agreement with Vela instantly gives Swift a global diagnostics reach in a major emerging market. While neither side is disclosing financial details, the agreement between the two covers Swift's myT Primer technology, reagents designed to enhance the detection of certain cancer mutations. Vela will use myT Primer for its own cancer diagnostics, though the rights are nonexclusive.

Swift's myT Primer drew interest from Vela for a crucial reason, according to founder and CEO David Olson: It allows researchers to perform, with a smaller number of errors, a DNA application process used in clinical diagnostics known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, the story explains. PCR tests are a typical element in companion diagnostics agreements. Abbott ($ABT) and GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals ($GSK), for example, expanded a companion diagnostics deal last year that requires Abbott to develop a PCR test to screen non-small-cell lung cancer tumors for the expression of the PRAME antigen. They inked an initial PCR companion diagnostics deal in 2009.

Swift launched in February 2010 with a $3 million Series A round. Heading into 2013, Olson told Xconomy, the company will release a series of new products focused on next-generation genomic sequencing.

- read the Xconomy story

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