New CRO Helomics partners up on prostate cancer liquid biopsies

By Dani Bancroft

- Last updated on GMT

New CRO Helomics partners up on prostate cancer liquid biopsies

Related tags Cancer

Helomics has signed a deal with the diagnostics firm MDNA Life Sciences Inc., to help further develop MDNA’s liquid biopsy platform and commercialize its tests for prostate cancer.

Florida-based MDNA is developing cancer diagnostics tests using certain biomarkers based on mitochondrial genomic data.

Through the deal, Helomics Corp. will help commercialize the firm’s Prostate Core Mitomic test and liquid biopsy Prostate Mitomic test products by offering them in clinic in the US.

As a privately-held firm based in Pittsburgh, US, Helomics provides proprietary cell-based services for biologics and biosimilars, including preclinical screening and identification of targets, tumor profiling, diagnostic validation and BSL-level 2 clinical laboratory services.

Chris Mitton, President and CEO of MDNA, said it was the CRO’s ability to integrate its services alongside academic partners and pharma firms which allowed for MDNA’s expansion of its Mitomic Technology platform.

“This strategic relationship with Helomics will enable us to accelerate product development, clinical validation, and the commercialization of our deep pipeline of novel, best-in-class liquid biopsy tests,” ​Mitton added.

CRO restructuring

Helomics announced it had completed its restructuring process to enter the contract research organization (CRO) space in December 2016 after initiating the reorganization in April.

The firm claims the decision to refocus and build on clinical services was made primarily because of changes to the US Affordable Care Act (ACA), which meant a significant number of staff were let go.

As part of the CRO offering, MDNA will also make the tests available to Helomics to license out.

Don Very, VP Research and Commercial Development at Helomics, told Outsourcing-Pharma that the firm’s “realignment” ​into an Integrated Clinical Contract Research Organization (ICCRO) is a strategic move that will allow it to perform fee-for-service projects for client-partners in the pharma, diagnostic, and biotech industries.

“As an ICCRO, we will utilize our scientific (live tumor cell tissue culture, method development, method performance qualification)  and non-scientific (sales, marketing, regulatory strategy, reimbursement strategy) capabilities to provide a customized solution for our client’s specific project needs.”

On the partnership, Gerald Vardzel Jr., CEO and President of Helomics said "We anticipate that by leveraging the core expertise of both companies, many new diagnostic tests will be developed and commercialized that will lead to a better understanding of the uniqueness of a patient's cancer."

Financial details were not disclosed. 

Feature image: P0 (Pixabay)

Related topics Preclinical Research Preclinical

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