Metabolon and the University of Michigan Announce Agreement
Organizations to Develop Diagnostics to Distinguish Prostate Cancer Aggressiveness; Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan to Join Metabolon's Scientific Advisory Board
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC. and ANN ARBOR, Mich. (October 21, 2008) – Metabolon, Inc., the leader in metabolomics-driven biomarker discovery and analysis, and the University of Michigan today announced an agreement on the commercial development of prostate cancer diagnostics.
The agreement puts in place a number of activities to help progress Metabolon's Prostarix™ line of prostate cancer diagnostics including an exclusive license for Metabolon to use prostate cancer aggressitivity markers that were discovered in a collaborative research project between the University of Michigan and Metabolon. This intellectual property will provide the company with a significant competitive advantage in the field of prostate cancer diagnosis and will serve as the basis for Prostarix—which is expected to be launched in late 2009. The agreement also includes a sponsored research agreement with Dr. Arun Sreekumar, assistant professor of pathology at the University of Michigan, aimed at a deeper understanding into the role the biomarkers play in the onset of aggressiveness.
"As the second major cause of cancer-related death in the US, prostate cancer creates unique challenges to accurately predict the likelihood of metastasis. Metabolon continues to work with leading researchers like those at the University of Michigan to develop easy-to-use diagnostic tools to better understand aggressiveness and metastatic potential of prostate cancer and to help doctors and patients make critical treatment decisions," explained John Ryals, chief executive at Metabolon.
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer found in men in the United States, with one in six men expected to develop the disease during his lifetime. Over 185,000 men are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. Development and progression of the disease are monitored using a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. Once patients are diagnosed, there are several options: active surveillance, androgen deprivation or radiation therapy, or prostatectomy. These options are based on the likelihood the tumor will become metastatic and spread. However, predicting the likelihood of metastasis has traditionally been very difficult.
Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan to Join Metabolon's Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Arul M. Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., director, Michigan Center for Translational Pathology and S.P. Hicks endowed professor of pathology, who collaborated with Metabolon in discovering the prostate cancer aggressitivity markers licensed to Metabolon by the University of Michigan, will serve as an advisor to Metabolon and join the company's scientific advisory board.
Dr. Chinnaiyan leads a world-renowned research team in the field of prostate cancer at the University of Michigan. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan and is board certified in pathology. In 2007 he was named the Director of a new University initiative, the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology. The Center's goal is to develop new molecular tests and therapies for human disease with the primary focus on cancer.
Dr. Chinnaiyan's laboratory is focused on using genomic, proteomic and bioinformatic approaches to dissect and understand cancer for the purposes of understanding cancer biology as well as discover biomarkers. He and his collaborators have characterized a number of biomarkers of prostate cancer including AMACR, EZH2 and hepsin. Most recently, his laboratory identified recurrent gene fusions of TMPRSS2 to ETS family transcription factors in prostate cancer, potentially redefining the molecular basis of prostate cancer as well as other common epithelial cancers. His laboratory developed the popular cancer profiling bioinformatics resource called Oncomine (www.oncomine.org). He has received a number of prestigious awards including the Pew Biomedical Scholar Award, the Amgen Outstanding Investigator Award, the Benjamin Castleman Award, the AACR Team Science Award in 2007 and the AACR Outstanding Investigator Award in 2008. Dr. Chinnaiyan has more than 170 publications to his credit, holds several U.S. patents, and is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, and the Department of Defense.
For more information, please refer to the Chinnaiyan Lab website at http://www.med.umich.edu/mctp/.
Metabolon is a diagnostics and services company
offering the industry's leading biochemical profiling
platform. Metabolon's patented platform provides a
global analysis of complex biological samples for the
discovery of markers and pathways associated with drug
action and disease. This metabolomics-driven approach
enables the identification of biomarkers useful for
the development of a wide range of diagnostics and
provides insight into complex biochemical processes
such as drug action, toxicology and bioprocess
optimization. For more information about Metabolon,
please visit www.metabolon.com.