Diagnostic biomarker for breast cancer secures seed funding

A diagnostic biomarker being developed to detect breast cancer has received $500,000 in seed funding.

The New Brunswick, New Jersey-based GeneAssess will use the investment to validate its target molecule not only as a way to identify breast cancer earlier, but also as a predictive biomarker for other cancers. It will also be used to detect genetic mutations in at-risk populations. It comes from the technology transfer office at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

The investment from Foundation Venture Capital Group, the nonprofit venture arm of the New Jersey Health Foundation, brings the firm’s investment portfolio to eight biotechnology companies since it was started in 2006 with $5 million from the foundation.

In an interview with Foundation Venture president James Golubieski, he said he is seeing plenty of investment opportunities crossing his desk, with three undergoing due diligence. Among his companies, which receive no more than $500,000, is Durin Technologies, a company developing an early detection blood test for Alzheimer’s disease.


Dr. Helmut Zarbl, the founder of GeneAssess and a professor of environmental and occupational medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, said its cancer molecular signature gene could be used as a platform for developing a test to measure disease progression for tumor grading.

About 40,589 women died from breast cancer in 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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