PORTLAND, OR--(Marketwire - April 20, 2009) -
MolecularMD Corp, a developer and provider of
cancer-based pharmacogenomic diagnostic tests, announced today that it has
granted a sub-license agreement for the detection of ABL kinase mutations
in Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) patients to Mayo Foundation for
Medical Education and Research (Mayo Clinic).
Approximately 26,000 people live with CML in the US, with about 5,000 new
patients being diagnosed each year. The leukemia is associated with the
formation of the BCR-ABL oncogene as a result of a chromosomal
translocation known as the Philadelphia Chromosome (Ph).
The advent of targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) such as Gleevec®
(Novartis) and Sprycel® (Bristol Meyer Squibb) has revolutionized the
treatment of Ph+ CML. However, a small proportion of patients develop
acquired secondary drug resistance via point mutations in the ABL kinase
domain. These ABL kinase mutations can interfere with the binding of TKIs
to the targeted BCR-ABL oncoprotein which can lead to disease progression
from chronic phase to accelerated or blast phase.
The T315I ABL mutation is of particular interest to drug development
companies as it has manifested complete resistance to all current kinase
inhibitors drugs indicated for CML.
Hematology/Oncology physicians at Mayo Clinic treat chronic myeloid
leukemia (CML) patients at each of their three campuses in Arizona, Florida
and Minnesota. ABL kinase domain mutation analysis is most often performed
in high complexity molecular diagnostic laboratories, which also typically
provide broad expertise in the molecular diagnosis and monitoring of CML
patients. This sub-license will allow Mayo Clinic to add ABL kinase domain
mutation testing to the current range of BCR-ABL analyses in the Molecular
Hematopathology Laboratory, thus providing critical information to
clinicians about possible drug resistance in CML patients receiving
tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy. The ability to offer ABL kinase
domain mutation testing will therefore help guide Mayo physicians regarding
the best course of treatment for these patients.
The intellectual property for the sub-license is based on USPTO Patent #
7326534 owned by Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). MolecularMD was
granted a license in 2007 for the exclusive commercial rights of the
patented mutation discoveries made by Drs. Brian Druker and Amie Corbin at
Founded in 2006, MolecularMD specializes in the development and
commercialization of pharmacogenomic tests employed to measure patient
molecular response of novel targeted cancer therapies. The company has
over 30 years of combined experience in cancer research and has developed
sensitive and highly reliable molecular assays for leukemias, lymphomas and
About Mayo's Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic
maintains an active diagnostic test development program. These activities
also incorporate discoveries from other diagnostic and biotechnology
companies and academic organizations. Mayo utilizes these proven
diagnostic technologies in the care of its patients and offers them to more
than 5,000 health care institutions around the world through Mayo Medical
Laboratories. Revenue from testing is used to support medical education
and research at Mayo Clinic.
About Oregon Health and Science University
Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only health and research
university, and Oregon's only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's
largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government),
with 12,400 employees. OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide
many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in
the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a
conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the
source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and
education services to every county in the state.
For additional information, please contact MolecularMD at 1-888-663-7382 or
visit our website at www.molecularmd.com.