NCI awards tumour diagnostics development contract to BioMarker
24 October 2011
The US National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded BioMarker
Strategies a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract to
develop a pathway-based companion diagnostic test for drug inhibitors
targeting the ErbB signal transduction network.
The NCI awarded Phase 1 funding of $200,000. The company will be
eligible to apply for Phase 2 funding of $1.5m if the first phase is
successfully completed. The company also announced, in an SEC
regulatory filing, that the company raised more than $2.3 million
from investors during the month of August.
The company will use funding from this SBIR award and its
investors to expand its predictive test development program for use
in its automated SnapPath live tumor cell testing system.
Under this award, initial tumor types will include melanoma and
In the SnapPath device, live tumor cells from human
biopsies are stimulated to evoke phosphoprotein-based Functional
Signaling Profiles (FSP) that are not possible in dead, fixed tumor
tissue. These profiles will assist oncologists in determining which
targeted drug treatments, or classes of targeted drugs, will benefit
their cancer patients.
In their program announcement, the NCI sought proposals that
“stimulate research, development, and commercialization of
innovative tests and technology platforms” for all types of
companion diagnostic applications.
“This additional funding
will help us to expand our predictive test development pipeline,
which includes companion diagnostics for drugs targeting the ErbB
signaling network that includes a large number of the targeted
cancer drugs under development today,” said Dr. Douglas Clark,
Acting CEO of BioMarker Strategies. “This NCI award also signals the
growing recognition that static, nucleic acid-based biomarkers will
not be enough to predict patient response to drug therapies, and
that new, pathway-based, approaches using living cells will be
needed to enable personalized medicine for cancer.”