Epigenomics AG Enters into Agreement with Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Researach & Development, L.L.C
07.08.2006, Berlin, Germany and Seattle, WA, USA
Epigenomics AG (Frankfurt, Prime Standard: ECX) has entered into an R&D collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C. (J&JPRD) to identify and analyze potential biomarkers for use in J&JPRD’s oncology program.
Epigenomics will use its proprietary differential methylation hybridization (DMH) chip technology to discover biomarkers that may support the development of oncology compounds. DNA methylation is a biological process responsible for controlling genetic activity that occurs in distinct patterns in cells, and this chip allows for rapid profiling of methylation patterns across the entire genome. Changes in these patterns can act as a marker for diseases such as cancer and for predicting response to drug treatment.
“This collaboration provides an excellent opportunity to support J&JPRD’s clinical evaluation of novel oncology products,” noted Christina Dahlstroem, Senior Vice President and Head of the Clinical Solutions Strategic Business Unit. “We are particularly pleased that this collaboration is also the first one to be based on our new DMH technology.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Epigenomics will receive an undisclosed upfront payment. Further financial details were not disclosed.
Methylation is a natural epigenetic process that occurs when a methyl group binds to one of DNA’s four bases, cytosine. Methylation is responsible for controlling the activity of genes by turning them off when not needed. Measuring the differences in the methylation patterns between healthy and diseased tissue can be used to detect a change in gene activity that could trigger diseases such as cancer.. Epigenomics has developed an industrial process that is able to read and interpret these methylation patterns.
Differential Methylation Hybridization (DMH) Chip
Epigenomics designed its DMH chip for the genome-wide analysis of 50,000 DNA fragments which were selected for their potential as targets of cellular DNA methylation. The DMH chip can identify potential biomarkers for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, or the prediction of a patient’s response to a particular oncology drug. DMH chips can be used with both cell lines and clinical tissue samples.
Epigenomics is a molecular diagnostic company with a focus on the development of novel products for cancer. By detecting and interpreting DNA methylation patterns, Epigenomics’ tests can potentially diagnose disease at an early stage and help guide physicians to select an appropriate therapy. Epigenomics collaborates with Roche Diagnostics on the development of several diagnostic products in cancer. The company has its headquarters in Berlin, Germany, and a wholly owned subsidiary in Seattle, USA. For more information, please visit Epigenomics’ website at www.epigenomics.com.
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