SOURCE: MolecularMD

April 20, 2009 09:00 ET

MolecularMD and Mayo Clinic Enter Into Sub-License Agreement for the Detection of Drug Resistant Mutations in Leukemia Patients

PORTLAND, OR--(Marketwire - April 20, 2009) - MolecularMD Corp, a developer and provider of cancer-based pharmacogenomic diagnostic tests, announced today that it has granted a sub-license agreement for the detection of ABL kinase mutations in Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) patients to Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (Mayo Clinic).

Approximately 26,000 people live with CML in the US, with about 5,000 new patients being diagnosed each year. The leukemia is associated with the formation of the BCR-ABL oncogene as a result of a chromosomal translocation known as the Philadelphia Chromosome (Ph).

The advent of targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) such as Gleevec® (Novartis) and Sprycel® (Bristol Meyer Squibb) has revolutionized the treatment of Ph+ CML. However, a small proportion of patients develop acquired secondary drug resistance via point mutations in the ABL kinase domain. These ABL kinase mutations can interfere with the binding of TKIs to the targeted BCR-ABL oncoprotein which can lead to disease progression from chronic phase to accelerated or blast phase.

The T315I ABL mutation is of particular interest to drug development companies as it has manifested complete resistance to all current kinase inhibitors drugs indicated for CML.

Hematology/Oncology physicians at Mayo Clinic treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients at each of their three campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota. ABL kinase domain mutation analysis is most often performed in high complexity molecular diagnostic laboratories, which also typically provide broad expertise in the molecular diagnosis and monitoring of CML patients. This sub-license will allow Mayo Clinic to add ABL kinase domain mutation testing to the current range of BCR-ABL analyses in the Molecular Hematopathology Laboratory, thus providing critical information to clinicians about possible drug resistance in CML patients receiving tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy. The ability to offer ABL kinase domain mutation testing will therefore help guide Mayo physicians regarding the best course of treatment for these patients.

The intellectual property for the sub-license is based on USPTO Patent # 7326534 owned by Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). MolecularMD was granted a license in 2007 for the exclusive commercial rights of the patented mutation discoveries made by Drs. Brian Druker and Amie Corbin at OHSU.

About MolecularMD

Founded in 2006, MolecularMD specializes in the development and commercialization of pharmacogenomic tests employed to measure patient molecular response of novel targeted cancer therapies. The company has over 30 years of combined experience in cancer research and has developed sensitive and highly reliable molecular assays for leukemias, lymphomas and solid tumors.

About Mayo's Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic maintains an active diagnostic test development program. These activities also incorporate discoveries from other diagnostic and biotechnology companies and academic organizations. Mayo utilizes these proven diagnostic technologies in the care of its patients and offers them to more than 5,000 health care institutions around the world through Mayo Medical Laboratories. Revenue from testing is used to support medical education and research at Mayo Clinic.

About Oregon Health and Science University

Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only health and research university, and Oregon's only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government), with 12,400 employees. OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.

For additional information, please contact MolecularMD at 1-888-663-7382 or visit our website at

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