ValiRx cancer screening gene biomarker granted Japanese patent

6 May 2014

ValiRx Plc has announced that NAV3, its cancer screening test gene biomarker has received patent approval by the Japanese patent office (JPO).

This adds to patent protection in Europe and Australia and patents pending in the US and other territories, alongside granted and patents pending for its therapeutic technologies across Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. The patent is one of the five patent family assets that ValiRx’s subsidiary, ValiFinn Oy, acquired in 2012,

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; and
  • examine various samples and biopsy types.

In cancer diagnostics the detection of malignant cells as early as possible is a key challenge. 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.

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 JPO shortly after our European patent grant, not only further extends our global geographic patent coverage, but continues to endorse the Board’s decision to establish ValiFinn and our Finnish biomarkers business, in a increasingly fast growing marketplace”.


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