SAN DIEGO, CA, November 19, 2013 — Serametrix Corporation has announced the launch of an important new blood test for cancer patients. The test measures a patient’s level of circulating Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells (MDSCs) that are known to decrease anti-tumor immunity and are associated with poor survival rates in cancer patients. The service will initially be offered to drug companies engaged in the clinical development of experimental immunotherapies. In the future, the test may also be used as a way for clinician’s to monitor the likelihood of recurrence in cancer patients.
The test was developed at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center under the direction of Drs. Jedd Wolchok and Alex Lesokhin. The license agreement between Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Serametrix also covers the use of the test in the clinic, for example, to enable physicians to determine whether a cancer patient is a suitable candidate for approved immunotherapy.
Ludwig researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering recently discovered that patients with low levels of a sub-group of MDSCs were more likely to respond well to ipilimumab, an immunotherapy approved for the treatment of melanoma.
“This novel assay has the potential to become a valuable tool in the clinical development of immune therapy in cancer patients,” said Dr. Wolchok, Associate Attending physician in the Melanoma-Sarcoma Service and member of the Ludwig Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. Dr. Wolchok is Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board at Serametrix.
The assay will be offered as a fee-for-service and samples will be analyzed at the Serametrix facility in Carlsbad, California. A separate agreement allows for the co-development of a sample collection and handling strategy to enable scaled-up support of later phase clinical trials.
The new test will be an important addition to an existing suite of assays already offered by Serametrix. Such assays include the NY-ESO-1 serum profiling assay licensed in 2009 from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in New York which part owns Serametrix. “Our serum profiling business has seen strong growth in recent years,” said Henry Hepburne-Scott, Director of Business Development at Serametrix. “This new assay will help us to meet future demands for patient monitoring as the substantial growth of cancer immunomonitoring continues.”
Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.