ValiRx granted European patent for genetic-based cancer test

20 February 2014

ValiRx Plc has been awarded patent approval by the European Patent Office for its cancer screening test NAV3, which uses a gene biomarker to detect specific cancers. The biomarker is one of the five patent family assets that ValiRx’s subsidiary, ValiFinn Oy acquired in 2012.

ValiRx now has biomarker patent protection in Europe and Australia, and pending in the US and other territories, alongside granted and pending patents for its therapeutic technologies across Europe, the US, Canada and Australia.

The use of biomarkers with oncology therapeutics is one of the fastest growing areas of cancer research, as not only can the biomarkers identify patients who are more likely to respond to a particular drug therapy, but they can also indicate tumour progression.

The Nav3 gene biomarker can be used to:

  • detect pre-malignant cells, at the stage where tumour development is only about to start;
  • form a highly sensitive and specific test for finding cancer cells in tissue or samples;
  • enable the tracking of only a few malignant cells;
  • examine various samples and biopsy types.

In cancer diagnostics the detection of malignant cells as early as possible is a key challenge, as early detection can often have a significant impact on the future survival of cancer patients. The current diagnostic methods for cancer rely mainly on the microscopic analysis of cells in biopsies. However at the early stage of cancer and before morphological changes have developed, such malignant cell detection is and remains difficult.

ValiRx’s proprietary novel NAV3 Cancer Screening Test enables the detection of cancer cells in tissue samples, whether they are primary tumours, metastases or pre-malignant cell, at a stage when tumour development is only about to start.

The test is based on the detection of specific changes in the NAV3 gene and the system of tests can be applied to a range of cancers including: colon cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, lymphomas, and cancers of neurological origin. The clinical relevance of NAV3 is being further investigated in other solid tumours.

Dr Satu Vainikka, CEO, commented, “The granting of this latest patent by the EPO continues to underpin our global geographic patent coverage and I believe, further vindicates our establishment of ValiFinn and its Finnish biomarkers business, in what is a very exciting and rapidly growing marketplace”.


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