Ventana Medical Systems Inc., a member of the Roche Group, announced
that it has co-exclusively sub-licensed certain patents and patent applications from Gen-Probe Inc. for the worldwide IVD rights for measuring ERG protein expression through immunohistochemistry (IHC) in prostate tissue. The license complements the existing Ventana sublicense for in situ
hybridization (ISH) rights for measuring ETS gene rearrangements, including ERG gene rearrangements in tissue.
Ventana believes that the emerging biomarker will enable novel clinical assays and personalized healthcare for prostate cancer.
“We believe ERG testing by IHC and ISH will play an important role in novel diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive tests for prostate cancer,” says Mara G. Aspinall, President of Ventana Medical Systems. “This license gives us a unique position for this important biomarker as we see the opportunity to incorporate it into Ventana assays that can benefit hundreds of thousands of prostate cancer patients each year.”
In the journal Science, October 2005
, researchers from University of Michigan, in collaboration with scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, identified that ERG, a known oncogene, rearranges and fuses with androgen response elements including TMPRSS2. Since then, translational research has demonstrated that this rearrangement occurs in approximately 50 percent of prostate cancer patients, does not occur in healthy tissue, and describes a molecular subtype of prostate cancer that is associated with androgen-driven prostate cancer. As this subtype is the most prevalent in prostate cancer, there has been strong diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive interest in the ERG biomarker.
Ventana has ERG IVD assays available globally---including assays for ERG protein via IHC and assays for ERG gene rearrangements via Quantum Dot FISH (CE-IVD)---and the company is developing multivariate assays for novel clinical indications.