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GE's Clarient Diagnostic Services to develop PCR-based test to identify patients who have ALK-positive lung cancers

Thu, 05/31/2012 - 4:45am
The Associated Press

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. and NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 31, 2012-- Clarient Diagnostic Services, Inc., a GE Healthcare company, and molecular diagnostics company Insight Genetics, Inc., today announced a worldwide licensing agreement for intellectual property from Insight Genetics, granting Clarient rights to develop a genetic test covering the ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) biomarker, a promising target for several classes of cancer drugs.

As a result of the Agreement, Clarient intends to develop and evaluate the performance characteristics of a quantitative PCR-based test that detects increased transcription of the ALK gene. Rearrangements involving the ALK gene are implicated in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and other cancers. Several therapeutics compounds, known as ALK inhibitors, are in clinical trials and one, Xalkori(R), has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since only patients with ALK fusions are likely to respond to ALK inhibitors, accurate diagnostic screening is essential before prescribing ALK-targeted drugs.

"The National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines now suggest ALK testing as a standard measure for all non-small cell lung cancer patients due to the development of therapies targeting ALK inhibition," said Kenneth J. Bloom, MD, chief medical officer of Clarient. "Our agreement with Insight Genetics is another example of our mission of translating biomarker discovery to aid the development of new therapeutics and to assist physicians in determining the eligibility of their patients to receive the most appropriate therapy." "Insight and Clarient share a dedication to enhancing personalized cancer care," said Eric Dahlhauser, Chairman and CEO of Insight Genetics. "We're pleased to work with Clarient, a leader in cancer diagnostics with a strong commitment to developing tests that address targeted therapies, toward advancing this common goal." In addition to the proven role it plays in select lung cancers, ALK has been found to have a pathogenic role in many cancers including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor, esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, colorectal cancer and breast cancer. It is estimated that more than 250,000 new cancer diagnoses in the U.S. each year can be linked to ALK mutations and fusions.

A commitment to cancer Building on its 50 years in the oncology space, in September 2011 GE, through healthymagination, announced a new commitment to take cancer research, diagnostics and treatment to the next level. The company committed to accelerate cancer innovation by investing $1 billion in cancer technology research and development as well as improve care for 10 million cancer patients around the world by 2020.

In tandem with that announcement, GE and several partners launched a $100 million open innovation cancer challenge, an open call to action seeking ideas to accelerate early detection and enable more personalized treatment for breast cancer. GE and its venture capital partners pledged up to $100 million to fund breakthrough ideas that help healthcare professionals better understand triple negative cancer pathways, and the molecular similarities between breast cancer and other solid tumors.

The challenge garnered more than 500 ideas from 40 countries, sparking robust conversations among more than 200 academic institutions and researchers on the Challenge's open innovation platform.In March 2012 the first five innovation award winners were announced. The five innovation award winners have the potential to help doctors find cancer earlier, make more accurate diagnoses and choose the best possible treatment based on each patient's unique cancer. Learn more here.

About GE Healthcare GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost.

In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems.

Our "healthymagination" vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality around the world. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our web site at www.gehealthcare.com.

For our latest news, please visit http://newsroom.gehealthcare.com.

About Clarient Diagnostic Services, Inc.

Clarient Diagnostic Services, Inc. - a GE Healthcare Company - is a leading provider of comprehensive, cancer-diagnostic laboratory services. With its advanced technologies, Clarient is able to provide pathologists and oncologist with more accurate and detailed information to better characterize and assess cancer which can lead to more accurate diagnoses and more effective treatment. In addition, Clarient's services are finding more efficient ways to reduce the cost as well as accelerating the drug development process to identify and develop treating pharmaceuticals that can result in better outcomes for patients.

From its state-of-the-art diagnostic laboratory to its Internet-based PATHSiTE(R), Clarient delivers advanced oncology diagnostic services to pathologists, oncologists, hospitals and biopharmaceutical companies throughout the U.S. Clarient also is developing proprietary companion diagnostic tests for therapeutics in breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers, as well as leukemia/lymphoma.

Clarient is improving the lives of those affected by cancer by bringing clarity to a complex disease.

For more information visit www.clarientinc.com.

About Insight Genetics Insight Genetics is a molecular diagnostics company focused on enhancing personalized cancer care. The company's companion diagnostics detect specific cancer biomarkers related to therapeutics that are currently in development or on the market. Insight partners with leading academic researchers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, clinical reference laboratories, and IVD kit manufacturers to provide new standards of care for cancer patients worldwide.

www.insightgeneticsinc.com Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50294534&lang=en CONTACT: GE Healthcare Scott Lerman, 609-514-6346 (office) 609-937-9253 (mobile) scott.lerman@ge.com or Insight Genetics Nicole Cottrill, 615-327-7799 ncottrill@seigenthaler.com KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA CALIFORNIA TENNESSEE INDUSTRY KEYWORD: HEALTH CLINICAL TRIALS MEDICAL DEVICES ONCOLOGY SOURCE: GE Healthcare Copyright Business Wire 2012 PUB: 05/31/2012 08:30 AM/DISC: 05/31/2012 08:30 AM http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120531005243/

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