By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
There’s good news this week coming from the team at EDP BioTech Corporation.
The Knoxville-based company that is an in vitro diagnostics developer focused on early detection of diseases like colon cancer has executed a non-exclusive agreement with Luminex Corporation. The arrangement not only meets a critical need that EDP BioTech faced, but also opens-up a significant new revenue opportunity for the company that Tom Boyd founded in 2005.
“We needed the right to use their magnetic bead technology,” said Eric Mayer, EDP BioTech’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Under the terms of the agreement, EDP Biotech will not only be able to use the beads, but it will also have the rights to develop, market and sell its blood-based colorectal cancer diagnostic assay, ColoPlex™, using Luminex’s xMAP® technology.
“We will be building an assay to fit onto the Luminex series of multiplex analyzers,” Mayer explained. “Luminex’s bead-based xMAP® technology allows us to look at up to 50 proteins from a single blood sample.”
The company’s CEO draws an analogy for the relationship with Luminex and its xMAP® technology as similar to the shaving razor and blade refill model. “Luminex provides the hardware, while our test kit assay is the blade,” Mayer says.
The announcement is the latest validation that EDP BioTech is gaining good market traction. As it advances toward the upcoming commercialization of ColoPlex™, an inexpensive blood test that accurately detects early stage colorectal cancer and pre-cancerous polyps at the stage where such early detection leads to the best patient outcomes.
As Mayer regularly explains, colorectal cancer is the number two cause of cancer deaths in the world, and patients are often diagnosed in late stage when survival rates are 10 percent or lower. ColoPlex™ has the potential to increase patient compliance to colorectal cancer testing guidelines and drive the correct patients to confirmatory colonoscopy while reducing false positives in population-based screening programs.
“When we think of cancer as a complex biological problem, we realize that the traditional single-biomarker assays don’t tell the whole story,” Mayer says. “Multiplex testing, combined with data analytics, allows us to detect protein profiles associated with pre-cancerous polyps and early stage colorectal cancer. Our goal is to give physicians a new tool to help their patients when it matters the most.”
EDP BioTech’s growth strategy includes entering markets where Luminex is not as strong, so the reselling arrangement is beneficial to both companies.
While EDP BioTech is first applying the Luminex technology to early detection of colorectal cancer, Mayer says ultimately the technology may be adapted to detect other tumors and different diseases earlier.