ValiRx PLC (AIM: VAL) said is has entered into a funding and commercial partnership agreement with the Laboratory of Government Chemistry (LGC) and Cambridge based drug developer Horizon Discovery. This partnership provides funding for the development of ValiRx's Hypergenomics technology into new gene activity based diagnostics and screening products. Financial details were not disclosed.
The partners are the end users of such tests and potential long term customers; this provides further product distribution networks for the technology. ValiRx has now completed a pilot development study and the goal of the agreement is to formulate new commercial products in the service and testing arena.
The company said the market potential is considerable for a method that offers whole genome screening. The cancer diagnostics market is predicted to be around US$6 billion in 2010 with the global epigenetic market estimated to be US$1.7 billion and growing 60 percent by 2012.
ValiRx has worldwide exclusive rights for the Hypergenomics technology and will retain the commercialisation rights for future products that arise under this agreement.
Successful tests should enable a variety of products centered on epigenetic mapping to be produced and ValiRx will develop service and product offerings focused on cancer and stem cell diagnostics and monitoring.
The principal applications will be the selection of optimal therapy regimes for patients, a key issue for pharmaceutical companies when conducting clinical trials and for follow on studies for companion diagnostics for approved drugs. Development of companion diagnostics is increasingly essential for the registration of new therapeutic products providing a much needed boost to pharma revenues.
The partners have wide contact networks within the pharmaceutical industry and it is anticipated that the tests will be marketed to these existing networks as well as to the wider pharma/biotech industry, ValiRx said.
As previously announced, the company continues to progress its epigenomic therapeutic approach with its GeneICE Eurostars consortium and has now reached the milestones associated with the third quarter of this programme.
LGC was founded in 1996 following the privatisation of the Laboratory of the Government Chemist, today LGC is owned by the management and staff and funds managed by the investment group LGV Capital. LGC retains its statutory role as Government Chemist, acting as the referee in cases where there is a dispute over analytical results or their interpretation.
Disclosure: The author holds no positions in the company