Proteome Systems Ltd and US-based Egenix Inc to develop semen-based test for prostate cancer

Proteome Systems Ltd (ASX: PXL) today announced the signing of an agreement with the New York-based biotechnology company, Egenix Inc to co-develop a semen-based diagnostic kit for prostate cancer based on the known proprietary Human Carcinoma Antigen (HCA).

The new non-invasive test, once developed, would offer significant advantages over the current test, and would reduce unnecessary invasive examinations as well as needle biopsies.

The current blood test for prostate cancer measures levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). The drawback with the PSA test is that it has a high false positive rate (estimated at up to 75%), meaning it picks up many benign conditions of raised PSA levels in the blood - such as enlargement of the prostate or a prostate infection.

This means that many men who have false positive tests for prostate cancer undergo unnecessary biopsies.

Research indicates that the HCA based test being developed by PXL and Egenix would be a more accurate test. Initial data testing HCA in semen as a marker of prostate cancer was presented at an American Urology Association meeting. In a cohort of 84 patients (9 confirmed cancers and 75 non-cancers), the sensitivity of the semen test was 100% (no cancers missed) and the false positive rate was only 17%.

PXL and Egenix will initially work together to optimise the detection of HCA in semen of prostate cancer patients. This initial project will be fully funded by Egenix. The two companies will then share the rights for further development and commercialisation of the test. The parties envisage that this test would have significant implications for the prostate cancer diagnostic market. Estimates by Egenix indicate a potential market size for the HCA test of up to USD $1.5 billion in the US market.

HCA in the blood can signal the presence of cancer, but it does not specify where the cancer exists as HCA is produced by other tumors such as breast, lung a

Contact: Susan Fitzpatrick
Research Australia

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