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
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
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”.