The company, Oxford Cancer Biomarkers, is based on technology developed at the University of Oxford. CancerNav is a proprietary DNA and protein-based test technology platform that can quickly identify biomarkers that can be used in developing drugs or determining the proper treatment for cancer patients. CancerNav was developed by Nick La Thangue, chair of cancer biology at the university. Dr. David Kerr, professor of cancer medicine at Oxford, will be the company’s chief medical officer. The company will have a “strategic relationship” with the consulting and laboratory operations of Durham, North Carolina-based Quintiles, which will put the discoveries and innovations from the company into use for biopharmaceutical companies.
“We see this as a fantastic opportunity to pursue our vision of personalized medicine in which we aim to identify those cancer patients who are likely to benefit most from treatment,” Kerr said in a statement. “Our association with Quintiles is greatly welcomed and widens our access to some of the best cancer drug development teams on the planet.”
Ben Cons, global vice president and managing director, corporate development Europe at Quintiles, told Outsourcing Pharma that Oxford Cancer Biomarkers will develop the biomarkers at its laboratories in Oxford. Those biomarkers will be transferred to Quintiles’ facility in Edinburgh, Scotland for commercial production.
“In two years, we hope two or three biomarkers identified by OCB will have been commercialized,” Cons said, adding that the company could hit profitability in five years.
Quintiles, the largest clinical research organization in the pharmaceutical outsourcing industry, is the largest shareholder in Oxford Cancer Biomarkers. Cons said the CRO invested $4.6 million into Oxford Cancer Biomarkers. The university and professors La Thangue and Kerr are also shareholders in the company.
The Oxford Cancer Biomarkers investment is the latest move into personalized medicine taken by Quintiles in recent years. In 2010, Quintiles reached a deal with London Genetics to collaborate to advise pharmaceutical companies working in pharmacogenetics. Last year, Quintiles entered into a partnership with Population Genetics Technologies to bring large-scale genomic testing to pharma companies.
Photo from Flickr user dancentury
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