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Pacific Edge's gastric cancer diagnostic obtains European patent

Monday 7th November 2011

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Dunedin-based biomedical company Pacific Edge has added to its intellectual property suite with a highly sought-after European patent awarded for its gastric cancer detection technology.

The technology, which identifies specific gas cancer markers in genes, has already been awarded New Zealand and Australian patents, with Europe being considered a particularly challenging environment in which to be granted protection.

NZX listed Pacific Edge raised an additional $20 million capital in September, and already has New Zealand patents for the detection of bladder cancer and colorectal cancer.

The first product Pacific Edge has taken to market, initially in Australasia, is its bladder cancer detection test Cxbladder. It is about to launch this test in Spain along with partner Oryzon, and an approved Cxbladder oriented laboratory is being established in Hershey, Pennsylvania to enable American commercialisation.

“We anticipate that we will have patents issued in other targeted countries over the next 12 to 24 months,” said Pacific Edge chief executive, David Darling.

“These new technologies we are now commercialising, enable early detection and better management of cancer, and are expected to provide significant opportunities for the company globally.”

The molecular diagnostic component of cancer detection is expected to reach a value of US$2.2 billion by 2014, with gastric, or stomach cancer, being one of the most common forms of the disease.

An estimated 934,000 new cases are globally diagnosed each year.

Pacific Edge considers Japan as a significant potential market. Of the country’s 137 million people, 65 million are over 40 years of age, and all are entitled to the Japanese government’s free screening programme for gastric cancer.

The shares rose 4.2 percent to 25 cents in trading today, and have climbed 39 percent this year. That values the company at some $68.6 million by market capitalisation.

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