Asterand Bio and MolecularMD Launch Therapeutic Biomarker Partnership

February 15, 2017
Asterand Bio and MolecularMD Launch Therapeutic Biomarker Partnership
Source: Rawpixel/Getty Images

Asterand Bioscience and MolecularMD said today they have launched a partnership focused on targeted therapeutic biomarker validation, optimization, development, and commercialization.

The partnership, whose value was not disclosed, is designed to combine MolecularMD's expertise as a provider of molecular diagnostics products and services with Asterand Bio's drug target and candidate validation capabilities. The companies said they aim to strengthen their offerings in assay development and validation, while creating a global footprint for delivering clinical trial sample analyses.

“This agreement brings together MolecularMD's proven track record in clinical assay development and companion diagnostics with Asterand Bio's human tissue procurement, characterization, and research services to provide a comprehensive approach to meet the needs of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and diagnostic companies from validation of biomarkers and targets to assay development, through regulatory and clinical trials,” Asterand COO/CFO John Canepa said in a statement.

The companies said they will promote their partnership at two upcoming industry conferences: Molecular Med Tri-Con, set for Feb 19–24 in San Francisco; and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), set for April 1–5 in Washington, DC.

Asterand Bio has offices in Detroit and Royston, U.K., and was formed in 2006 through the merger of the human tissue biobank Asterand and human tissue-based drug discovery company Pharmagene. Asterand Bio is a global provider of high quality, well-characterized human tissue and human tissue-based research solutions to drug discovery scientists.

The company’s products are designed to accelerate the identification and validation of drug targets, as well as enhance the selection of drug candidates with increased likelihood of clinical success. Asterand Bio’s XpressBANK™ biobank contains several hundred thousand specimens from a broad range of therapeutic areas and including numerous ethnicities.

Based in Portland, OR, with additional operations in Cambridge, MA, MolecularMD develops custom clinical trial assays as well as companion diagnostic products, supporting clinical trial services and commercialization of targeted cancer therapies.

MolecularMD has developed and implemented what it says is the only standardized assay for quantification of BCR-ABL expression levels, which enabled Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis to gain approvals for their second-generation ABL kinase inhibitors Sprycel® (dasatinib) and Tasigna® (nilotinib), respectively.