Orion Genomics Announces Collaboration To Validate The Clinical Utility Of Orion's Breast Cancer Screening Test

Published: Oct 19, 2006

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Orion Genomics announced today that it has initiated collaboration with Mayo Clinic to study the clinical utility of Orion's breast cancer screening tests, which are based on epigenetic biomarkers that were discovered using Orion's cutting-edge DNA methylation technologies. Under the collaboration, physicians and scientists at Mayo Clinic and Orion will validate the tumor specificity of Orion's breast cancer biomarkers by analyzing the cross reactivity of these epigenetic biomarkers in more than a dozen additional cancer types.

"We are pleased to collaborate with Mayo Clinic, one of the most prestigious reference laboratories and medical institutions in the world," said Nathan Lakey, CEO and President of Orion Genomics. "Orion Genomics is developing a new generation of sensitive and specific diagnostic tests, and this collaboration will allow us to validate and ultimately advance our breast cancer screening tests to the patient."

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 211,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected in the U.S. in 2006, where approximately 40,000 women are predicted to die of their disease. Early detection and treatment when the tumor is still small remains a key factor in survival; however, early stage breast cancer typically produces no noticeable symptoms, making early detection challenging.

Utilizing unique epigenetic biomarkers, Orion Genomics is developing cancer screening tests that are designed to work in blood, tissues and other biological samples for the early detection of breast and other common cancers, including lung, ovarian and colon cancers. To date, Orion has discovered and validated, in independent patient panels, over 50 novel breast cancer biomarkers.

Orion's proprietary biomarker discovery platform, MethylScope(R) technology is capable of quantitatively detecting the methylation status of each and every human gene. By comparing methylation profiles, Orion discovers new biomarkers associated with specific diseases. MethylScope technology is the only platform capable of detecting inappropriate DNA methylation for all human genes on a single array, providing a fast, cost-effective, and comprehensive biomarker discovery tool. Orion's MethylScreen(R) technology leverages biomarkers discovered using its MethylScope technology to develop a new class of oncology diagnostic kits. MethylScreen assays provide critical clinical information about disease progression using blood serum and other easily collected patient samples.

About Mayo Medical Laboratories

The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic maintains an active diagnostic test development program. These activities also incorporate technologies from collaborations with diagnostic and biotechnology companies. 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 MML testing is used to support medical education and research at Mayo Clinic.

About Orion Genomics

Orion Genomics, the Second Code biotechnology company, develops molecular diagnostic products to detect cancer at its earliest stages and to aid in appropriate therapy selection. Orion's most advanced diagnostic program is in breast cancer, where the company is developing a highly sensitive and selective early screening test, followed by additional epigenetic screening assays in lung, ovarian and colon cancers. Orion Genomics is located in the Center for Emerging Technologies in St. Louis. For more information, visit us at http://www.oriongenomics.com.

Orion Genomics

CONTACT: Amy Blackley, Ph.D. of Porter Noveli Life Sciences,+1-619-849-6008, ablackley@pnlifesciences.com, for Orion Genomics

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