PrognosDx Health and Molecular Medicine Research Institute to Collaborate on Developing a New Class of Epigenetic Theranostics Initially Focused on Hormone Refractory Prostate Cancer
7/10/2013 11:02:35 AM
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PALO ALTO, CA - PrognosDx Health Inc. and the Molecular Medicine Research Institute(MMRI; Sunnyvale, CA) have signed a broad sponsored collaborative research and development agreement. This relationship provides state of the art laboratory resources for PrognosDx to launch CLIA laboratory services that include a prostate cancer prognosis (PrognoScore™) test and predictive tests for other cancers. In addition, the collaboration provides a platform for introductions to select pharma partners for the development of an entirely new class of epigenetic therapeutics based on PrognosDx’s scientific founders’ recent breakthrough discoveries (published in a special edition of Molecular Cell). The initial focus is treatment of hormone refractory prostate cancer using PrognosDx’s global (genome-wide) histone modification-based biomarkers and cellular metabolism related therapeutic insight. In partnership with PrognosDx, MMRI will perform clinical sample analyses and pre-clinical studies using PrognosDx’s global histone modification-based biomarkers. Additional work planned includes collaboration with a major academic center on breast and gastrointestinal cancers.
To foster a closer relationship between the two organizations, Dr. Edward Amento, Founder and Executive Director of the MMRI has joined the Board of Directors of PrognosDx. Dr. Amento is a founder of Connetics Corporation (formerly Connective Therapeutics, Inc.) where he held executive positions and of Theracos, Inc. where he served as founding CEO and President. Earlier he held senior positions at Genentech. He is also Adjunct Clinical Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. Prior to his Stanford appointment, Dr. Amento was a facility member at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the author or co-author of more than 160 published manuscripts, reviews, chapters and abstracts. He also serves on the Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board of several privately held biotechnology companies.
Dr. Amento commented: “MMRI is pleased to be entering into this agreement with PrognosDx. I see tremendous opportunities for PrognosDx’s technology in both diagnostic and therapeutic areas. The independent confirmation of prognostic and drug response predictive aspects of the technology has been quite extensive with many publications in prestigious journals. Additionally, the recent findings of PrognosDx’s scientific founders published in Molecular Cell have strengthened the therapeutics applications of the technology. In particular, I see remarkable opportunities for development of a new class of epigenetic drugs and redesigning current classes of HDACi’s to prevent them from causing undesired effects in the tumor microenvironment. Additional therapeutic opportunities may lie in cancer stem cell precision targeting, drug pipeline prioritization and patient stratification for improved clinical trials. Screening for a shift in global histone modifications from poor outcome (loss of cellular levels of histone methylation and acetylation) to good outcome (preservation and increase of cellular levels of histone methylation and acetylation) is an attractive scientific rationale for improved oncology therapeutics and for aiding pharmaceutical companies to overcome regulatory and clinical trial hurdles.”
PrognosDx is a biotechnology company committed to eliminating the trial and error approach to cancer treatment through analysis of global histone modifications which have been shown to act as master switches of the genome and gatekeepers to aggressive tumor metabolism. Supported by world-class advisors and more than 20 published international studies, prognostic and companion diagnostic solutions for improved treatment of multiple major cancers are in the company pipeline. The prognostic and theranostic clinical findings of the inventors of PrognosDx’s technology have been featured in several top-level peer-reviewed journals. PrognosDx awaits the publication of clinical validation study results for its prostate cancer prognosis PrognoScore™ test being conducted at a major medical center in California, the company has plans to collaborate with MMRI and prospective pharma partners to develop a new class of epigenetic therapeutics with initial focus on treatment of hormone refractory prostate cancer. Earlier this year, new findings from the scientific founders of PrognosDx published in Molecular Cell was profiled as “Major Finding” strengthening the position of global histone modifications as prognostic and predictive markers while revealing groundbreaking therapeutic implications. The manuscript shed light on a new role for histone acetylation as regulators of tumor pH and additionally showed that HDACi drugs are causing an unexpected deacetylation of histones by promoting a transient drop in intracellular pH. These findings further positioned the technology for improving epigenetic therapeutic design potentially bypassing the sudden drop in the intracellular and extracellular pH caused by many current HDACi drugs and the now well confirmed published induction of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (a hallmark of initial metastatic tumor progression). Multiple independent supportive publications allude to global histone modifications as robust biomarkers for clinical trial design and success.
Founded in 1995, the Molecular Medicine Research Institute has been offering preclinical and clinical services and also fostering innovation by incubating more than 60 successful biotech companies. New, 31,000 sq.ft state of the art laboratory facilities with immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, medicinal chemistry, cell culture, molecular biology, pre-clinical models and other key technical resources are based in Sunnyvale, CA.
Chairman & CEO
PrognosDx Health, Inc.
530 University Avenue
Mail Box # 203
Palo Alto, CA 94301
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