Exonhit was awarded a €418,000 grant from the European Union’s 7th Framework Program (FP7) to fund its participation in the Responsify Consortium, which is focused on the development of biomarker-based assays to predict tumor responses to the anticancer drugs Herceptin and Avastin. The ultimate aim of the project is to develop marked IVD tests for use in current clinical practice.
€6 million in FP7 funding has been pledged for Responsify, €4.8 million of which will be received at the program’s start. The collaboration will involve 12 European partners, coordinated by the Charité University Hospital in Berlin. Exonhit will provide its diagnostics development and commercialization expertise, and exploit its Genome Wide SpliceArray™ (GWSA) platform to analyze patient transcriptome profiles. The firm will in addition be responsible for filing for IP protection of molecular signatures and associated tests developed by the consortium, and for progressing CE marking and commercialization of assays identified using its platform.
“This grant, which covers more than 70% of our costs in this project, enables us to add predictive tests in a key indication to our existing development portfolio," comments Loïc Marel, president of Exonhit’s management board. “Exonhit’s involvement in this consortium is evidence of the quality of its technology and know-how to identify novel biomarkers. Our collaboration with Institut Gustave Roussy regarding the Dx14 test was key.”
The microarray-based GWSA platform is designed to enable comprehensive monitoring of RNA splice variants, the firm explains. Arrays cover whole genomes and monitor known and predicted alternative splicing events. The GWSA-developed Dx14 test is currently undergoing clinical validation for use in the differentiation of benign from malignant breast tumors.