GHDX Partners Almac for Cancer Test

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Genomic Health, Inc. (GHDX) and ALMAC GROUP Ltd made a joint announcement of Genomic’s licensing agreement for the latter’s technology and intellectual property to develop, validate and eventually commercialize a multi-gene test. This test will be designed to identify the benefits from DNA damage-based chemotherapy drugs, such as the commonly used anthracycline-based regimens, in breast cancer.

Several chemotherapy drugs are available in the market. One of them is Anthracycline-based chemotherapy regimens used for the treatment of different cancers, primarily breast cancer. However, usage of the Anthracyclines, are accompanied by serious long-term effects like hair loss, vomiting and heart damage.

Inadequate clinical data has always hampered breast-cancer treatment decisions. Hence development of a multi gene test was of utmost priority. Such a test will be particularly useful for high-risk breast cancer patients who are eligible for chemotherapy based on their Oncotype DX score.

Developed by Genomic Health, Oncotype DX is a non-invasive diagnostic test that determines possible chances of recurrence of breast cancer in women. The test also identifies patients who need to undergo chemotherapy post surgery and those who do not. Such vital information allows physicians to administer suitable treatment at the initial stages, thus enhancing the scope of patient care.

Per the agreement, Genomic Health will be responsible for the identification and validation of the genes previously identified and published by Almac Group.

According to the partnership, Genomic Health has made an upfront payment of $9 million, which it expects to reflect as expenses in the ongoing fourth-quarter 2013. Genomic Health will pay additional royalties to Almac Group on successful commercialization of the test.

According to the American Cancer Society, besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer among women in the U.S. Studies demonstrate that it is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer, with numbers tolling 39,620 in 2013.

The rising number of cancer patients has prompted the healthcare industry to make significant investments for the development of new, effective treatment methodologies to battle this fatal disease. Genomic Health continues its endeavor in the field, with partnerships that help use clinical information for better personalized healthcare administration.

Currently, Genomic Health Inc. (GHDX) carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). While Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF) and Heska Corporation (HSKA) hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and  Myriad Genetics Inc. (MYGN) carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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