Scottsdale, Arizona, Oct. 25, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Provista Diagnostics, Inc., a leading molecular diagnostics
company focused on developing and commercializing proprietary
diagnostic, prognostic and predictive tests for cancers affecting
women, has licensed a series of biomarker technologies developed by
researchers at the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University.
Provista will evaluate the technologies for use in the early
detection of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and HPV.
Biomarkers are substances within the body that indicate the
presence of a disease before the individual shows other symptoms.
Researchers in the Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized
Diagnostics at the Biodesign Institute at ASU are working to
identify and test new biomarkers for a wide range of conditions
based on individual patient profiles. The technologies licensed by
Provista were primarily developed in the labs of professors Joshua
LaBaer and Karen Anderson.
"Provista is working to develop oncology-related
diagnostics in areas of significant unmet need," said Dr. David E.
Reese, Provista's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are
very familiar with the excellent research being done at ASU in this
area, as both Drs. LaBaer and Anderson are members of our
Scientific Advisory Board. We look forward to testing these
technologies together with our own proprietary assays to determine
both clinical and market viability."
Early detection of cancer significantly improves treatment
outcomes and survivability. When ovarian cancer is diagnosed at an
early stage, the five-year survival rate is about 94 percent.
However, less than one in five cases is detected in an early stage,
because symptoms are typically minimal and invasive surgery is
required for diagnosis. To date, no screening biomarkers are
recommended for the general population in detecting ovarian
Breast cancer remains a common and devastating health problem,
despite recent advances in early detection and treatment. The
disease will strike almost one in eight U.S. women over her
lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.
"With the advent of molecularly-targeted therapeutics,
biomarkers that are associated with biological subtypes of cancer
may be useful for predicting responses to therapeutic
interventions," said Joshua LaBaer, director of the Virginia G.
Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics at the Biodesign
Institute at ASU. "If we can significantly advance the early
detection of these cancers, we can save thousands of lives each
The Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics - the
latest addition to the Biodesign Institute - was established with
an eye toward overcoming the health care challenges posed by
disease variance. The Center is developing new diagnostic tools to
pinpoint the molecular manifestations of disease based on
individual patient profiles. The strategy promises not only to
improve therapeutic care, but also to greatly reduce treatment
costs by allowing for early disease detection.
The licensing agreement was brokered by Arizona Technology
Enterprises (AzTE), ASU's technology transfer organization. ASU,
through the activities of AzTE, is annually one of the
top-performing U.S. universities in terms of intellectual property
inputs (inventions disclosed by ASU researchers) and outputs
(licensing deals and start-ups) relative to the size of the
university's research enterprise. Start-up companies that have
licensed ASU IP have attracted almost $400 million in financing
from venture capital firms and other investors.