Circadian Technologies Limited & Healthscope to Commercialise Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Diagnostic

Published: Feb 25, 2009

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 and melanoma.

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.

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