Circadian Technologies Limited (ASX: CIR) and Healthscope Limited (ASX:HSP) announced
today that they have signed an agreement to commercialise a novel diagnostic technology
for so-called “Cancers of Unknown Primaries” – a challenging form of cancer in which the
site of origin of a tumour cannot be identified using standard techniques. The diagnostic
method was developed in collaboration between Circadian and the Peter MacCallum Cancer
Centre, a leading specialty cancer hospital and research institute in Australia.
Under the terms of the agreement, Healthscope, through its subsidiary, Clinical Laboratories
Pty Ltd, will further develop, clinically validate and market the test throughout Australia, New
Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore. Circadian will retain rights to market the test in the
remainder of the world. Healthscope will pay Circadian an upfront fee, development
milestones and a royalty on sales of the test. Circadian, through its wholly owned subsidiary
Cancer Therapeutics Limited, owns exclusive worldwide rights to the test through a licensing
arrangement with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
The Cancers of Unknown Primaries (CUP) diagnostic methodology identifies a patient’s
tumour type by comparing its pattern of gene expression to a database of known tumours.
By correctly identifying a patient’s tumour type, clinicians can develop a more effective
treatment strategy for the cancer.
Robert Klupacs, Circadian Managing Director and CEO stated, “The Cancers of Unknown
Primaries diagnostic test is the result of a four year collaboration between Circadian and the
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. We are very pleased that this ground-breaking new
technology will soon be benefiting cancer patients. The CUP diagnostic is an important adjunct
to Circadian’s core focus as a developer of novel antibody-based drugs to treat cancer.”
Dr Keith Byron, Scientific Director of Healthscope’s Molecular Division said “Healthscope is
excited to be commercialising this ground breaking diagnostic technology. This methodology
adds to our existing focus on developing diagnostic tools for doctors throughout our 43
hospitals and the health care industry in general.”
Dr David Bowtell, Director of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and a co-inventor of the
diagnostic methodology added, “Cancer of unknown primary is actually the fourth most
common cause of cancer deaths in Australia. It is very gratifying that this product of our
translational research efforts will be made available to clinicians through Healthscope, one of
Australia’s leading diagnostic and pathology providers. We hope the assay will lead to
earlier diagnosis, improved treatment outcomes and enhanced quality of life for patients.”
About Circadian Technologies Limited
Circadian (ASX: CIR) is a drug developer focused on its extensive intellectual property portfolio
around Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) C and D owned by its unlisted wholly owned
subsidiary Vegenics. The applications for the VEGF technology, which functions in regulating blood
supply, are substantial and broad. Circadian’s internal product development programs are focused on
novel anti-cancer therapeutics for large unmet needs. Circadian, has also licensed rights to some
parts of its intellectual property portfolio for the development of other products. UK company Ark
Therapeutics Group plc (LSE: AKT) is developing Trinam®, a treatment for vascular grafts associated
with renal dialysis based upon Circadian intellectual property which has commenced Phase 3 trials.
Another Circadian licensee, ImClone Systems Inc (NASDAQ:IMCL), is developing an antibody-based
drug to VEGFR-3 for the treatment of solid tumours.
The VEGF patent portfolio developed by LICR and Licentia has been assigned to Circadian’s
subsidiary Vegenics. Vegenics also has rights to CoGenesys Inc/Human Genome Sciences Inc’s
VEGF-C intellectual property.
About Healthscope Ltd
Healthscope Ltd is one of Australia’s leading private healthcare operators. Their reach of facilities
around the country firmly places Healthscope Ltd as the second largest private hospital provider.
Healthscope Ltd owns or manages 43 medical/surgical, rehabilitation and psychiatric hospitals. In
addition, Healthscope Ltd operates a leading pathology business with facilities in Australia, New
Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia. The company was formed in 1985 and listed on the Australian
Stock Exchange in 1994.
About Cancers of Unknown Primaries
Cancers of Unknown Primaries (CUP) are tumors which are found in one organ of the body which
have originated and metastasized from a different organ. CUP comprises a range of cancer
types. According to the US National Cancer Institute, CUP represents approximately 4% of all
cancers, making it comparable to leukemia in frequency and exceeding cancers such as liver, kidney
A wide range of diagnostic techniques are employed in the attempt to identify the tumor origin. These
may include: clinical assessment, computed tomography (CT) scans of chest, abdomen, and pelvis,
and targeted evaluation of any specific signs or symptoms. A tumor is defined as CUP if it is not
possible to identify the site of origin after these extensive evaluations.
Identification of the likely primary site may significantly influence optimal patient management. For
example, a number of therapeutic advances, including therapies targeted to specific pathways, may
be applicable if it can be determined that a tumor originated in the breast, prostate and also
gastrointestinal cancers, especially colorectal.