SUNNYVALE, Calif., September 24, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Cepheid today announced that it has entered into an agreement to exclusively license the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) patent portfolio held by Quantovir AB of Sweden for the quantitative measurement of high-risk HPV types using DNA-based detection. Quantovir is believed to be the first to demonstrate that a molecular diagnostic test measuring the quantity, or viral load, of HPV DNA present in cervical specimens can be used to predict a woman's risk of developing cervical cancer. Cepheid plans to utilize Quantovir's technology to develop a new type of HPV test for the GeneXpert(R) System. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"The GeneXpert System is ideal for the rapid diagnosis of infectious organisms like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), but it can also be used to generate actionable, treatment-determining results in other medical areas including oncology and pharmaocogenetics," said John L. Bishop, CEO of Cepheid. "With the GeneXpert System, molecular diagnostics is no longer reserved solely for the highly complex laboratory setting; it is also enabling the benefits of this technology to be realized in moderately complex settings. An HPV test for the GeneXpert System is expected to provide accurate PCR results in minutes rather than days in a variety of clinical settings."
Infection with HPV is associated with nearly all cases of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women worldwide.(1),(2),(3) In the U.S., the treatment of cervical cancer costs approximately $2 billion per year.(4)
Given the demonstrated correlation of the presence of HPV with cervical cancer, HPV DNA testing has become an important diagnostic determinant of cancer risk. However, current tests approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration do not measure sample adequacy, and thus cannot accurately quantitate HPV viral load. Cepheid's potential HPV test for the GeneXpert System is planned to be designed to measure HPV viral load, which may help to identify patients most at risk, making it unique among current HPV DNA testing products(5). "It is gratifying to see our research leading to the possible discovery of disease at a much earlier stage," said Professor Ulf Gyllensten of the Rudbeck Laboratory in Uppsala, Sweden. "Early detection delivers greater opportunities for improving patient outcomes."
Current recommendations state that HPV DNA testing may be used in conjunction with a Pap in women over 30, to follow patients with previous positive high-risk HPV screening results, or when Pap results are uncertain. Analysts have estimated the current domestic market for diagnostic preventative testing at approximately $600-700 million.
About Quantovir AB
Founded in 2001, Quantovir AB was formed as a natural continuation of years of research and development by Professor Ulf Gyllensten and his team at the department of Genetics and Pathology at the Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University. Today, Quantovir AB is owned by Innovationsbron I Uppsala AB, Uppsala Universitets Holdingbolag UUAB together with a research group led by Professor Ulf Gyllensten at the Rudbeck Laboratory in Uppsala.