VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 24, 2011) - A unique funding program from Genome British Columbia (Genome BC) will enable one of BC's emerging biotech companies, Sirius Genomics Inc. (Sirius), to undertake final steps towards development of a biomarker aimed at dramatically improving the treatment of sepsis. Sirius Genomics is the local leader in the development of companion diagnostics and is now on the cusp of validating biomarkers that may play a significant role in the treatment of sepsis.
Sepsis is a leading cause of mortality in hospitals and a heavy burden on healthcare systems – there are greater than 1.5 million new cases of severe sepsis per year in North America and Europe with close to 100,000 cases of sepsis diagnosed annually in Canada alone. Thirty to 70% of these result in mortality. With the correct treatment these numbers could be significantly reduced.
Sirius has begun validation of its genomic biomarkers that will assess responsiveness to recombinant human activated protein C, the only approved therapeutic for treatment of severe sepsis. Ultimately the diagnostic tool being developed could help physicians to select patients that will benefit from treatment with activated protein C.
Genome BC is supporting this validation study through Genome BC's Strategic Opportunities Fund for Industry (SOFi) program. The SOFi program seeks to accelerate commercial potential with local companies and facilitate collaboration with industry.
Chris Wagner, President and CEO of Sirius Genomics, says, "Non-dilutive funding received from federal and provincial sources is vital for encouraging growth and innovation in the life sciences sector. Genome BC is a known leader in genomic sciences research, and their support for this program is very important to Sirius. This funding will improve the probability of success for our program by allowing us to fund increased enrolment of patients into our pivotal biomarker validation study."
"Sirius Genomics' sepsis work fits the goals of the SOFi program perfectly. Sirius' work in companion diagnostics and personalized medicine holds great promise for patients, physicians, and the healthcare system in the management of sepsis. We believe that development and the near term commercialization of products and services that advance innovation in the marketplace are definitive outcomes of this work and we are pleased to be a key supporter," says Dr. Alan Winter, President and CEO of Genome BC.
About Sirius Genomics:
Sirius Genomics develops companion diagnostics (CDx) that are closely tied to therapeutic decisions, leading to better patient outcomes through personalized medicine. Sirius generates value by improving the safety and effectiveness of pharmaceutical compounds. The Company correlates patient genetics with clinical outcomes, leading to proprietary and commercially viable CDx products that enable better drug treatment. Sirius' first product is a genetic predictor of response to treatment for sepsis, a severe blood infection. www.siriusgenomics.com
About Genome British Columbia:
Genome British Columbia is a catalyst for the life sciences cluster on Canada's West Coast, and manages a cumulative portfolio of over $450M in technology platforms and research projects. Working with governments, academia and industry across sectors such as forestry, fisheries, agriculture, environment, bioenergy, mining and human health, the goal of the organization is to generate social and economic benefits for British Columbia and Canada. www.genomebc.ca
This release contains forward-looking statements that are not based on historical fact. These forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, events or developments to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.