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Singapore May 21, 2013: A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) has signed an agreement with QuantuMDx (QMDx), a UK-based biotech developing handheld diagnostics and whole genome sequencing devices. Under this collaboration, QMDx’s wholly owned Singapore-based subsidiary QMDx Asia and GIS will develop Asia-specific point-of-care genetic tests for use with Q-POC™, QMDx’s handheld point-of-care device. QMDx will commercialize the tests. The first assay from the development pipeline will direct treatment of East Asian patients with kinase-driven cancers, such as chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated non-small lung cancer (EGFR NSCLC).
QMDx’s handheld, sample-to-result diagnostic device Q-POC™ will be used to rapidly test patients, in a cancer clinic or post surgery, for the presence of a BIM deletion polymorphism genetic mutation which GIS has shown causes a patient’s malignancy to be unresponsive to the standard Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKI) treatment regime. Instead, the treatment can be personalized and made more effective by switching treatment to other chemotherapeutic agents such as the promising BH3 mimetics. Q-POC™, currently at prototype stage, utilises novel sample preparation, extraction, amplification and a nanowire biosensor to detect DNA sequences of interest in under 15 minutes, from sample to result.
Dr Michael Rossbach, Head of Strategic Alliances at the GIS said of the collaboration, “This collaboration has the potential to be most far-reaching for the continent of Asia by harnessing the Genome Institute of Singapore’s quality cancer research, focused on East Asian populations, and translating and testing our validated biomarkers for disease for use in QuantuMDx’s ground-breaking sample to result point of care platform Q-POC™. The assays can then be commercialised and utilized in a near patient setting, taking us into the realms of true personalized treatment.”
QMDx’s Group Chief Executive Elaine Warburton said “The collaboration with GIS is of great importance to QuantuMDx and our Asia subsidiary, QMDx Asia, as it offers access to GIS’s world class genomic expertise and facilities and to their Asian-specific validated disease biomarkers. This is of immense importance in developing Asian-specific diagnostic and companion diagnostic assays for sale within Asia. As part of our global drive for precision medicine using Q-POC, it is our strategy to develop disease specific panels which are developed for and validated on populations from the geographic regions in which they are sold.”
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About QuantuMDx Group
QuantuMDx Group is one of the most exciting biotechs to emerge from the UK. Headquartered at the International Centre for Life in Newcastle, UK, the last 5 years has seen the company grow from its humble beginnings in a South of England based ‘biotech garage lab’ to a multi-national company with pan-global collaborations, partnerships and even its own commercial genomics lab. Combining the business acumen of health professional and entrepreneur CEO Elaine Warburton with the far-reaching vision of inventor and CSO Jonathan O’Halloran and the clinical and ethical guidance of Prof Sir John Burn, the company has developed a suite of proprietary on-chip, molecular diagnostic and sequencing technologies – sample prep, DNA extraction, PCR and detection using a nanowire biosensor - which it is currently integrating into a suite of handheld and benchtop devices for rapid, accurate and very low cost assays for genomic and infectious disease applications along with its “Last-Gen” T2T sequencer (telomere to telomere whole genome sequencing). QuantuMDx Asia is one of QMDx’s Group’s wholly owned subsidiaries and is based in Biopolis, Singapore. The company works closely with Singapore’s A*Star institutes and commercial and public organizations as well as providing the gateway for QMDx’s activities within the continent of Asia.
About the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS)
The Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) is an institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). It has a global vision that seeks to use genomic sciences to improve public health and public prosperity. Established in 2001 as a centre for genomic discovery, the GIS will pursue the integration of technology, genetics and biology towards the goal of individualized medicine.
The key research areas at the GIS include Systems Biology, Stem Cell & Developmental Biology, Cancer Biology & Pharmacology, Human Genetics, Infectious Diseases, Genomic Technologies, and Computational & Mathematical Biology. The genomics infrastructure at the GIS is utilized to train new scientific talent, to function as a bridge for academic and industrial research, and to explore scientific questions of high impact.
About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector agency that fosters world-class scientific research and talent to drive economic growth and transform Singapore into a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation driven economy.
In line with its mission-oriented mandate, A*STAR spearheads research and development in fields that are essential to growing Singapore’s manufacturing sector and catalysing new growth industries. A*STAR supports these economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry.
A*STAR oversees 20 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research entities, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis as well as their vicinity. These two R&D hubs house a bustling and diverse community of local and international research scientists and engineers from A*STAR’s research entities as well as a growing number of corporate laboratories.
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