JW Holdings said Thursday that it has signed a technology transfer contract with Yonsei University for a multi-biomarker diagnostic kit that can detect pancreatic cancer during its early stages with a simple blood test.
|JW Holdings CEO Han Sung-kweon (right) and Professor Paik Young-ki shake hands after signing the technology transfer contract on Thursday.|
Under the agreement, the company has exclusively acquired the world's first pancreatic cancer diagnostic technology developed by Professor Paik Young-ki of the university’s department of biochemistry. JW Bioscience, a subsidiary of JW Holdings, will develop diagnostic kits for commercialization and conduct basic research and clinical trials along with the university.
Pancreatic cancer is a disease that causes about 1,000 fatalities worldwide on average a day. In Korea, more than 5,000 cases occur annually. Early diagnosis is essential for the incurable illness as it has a low survival rate of roughly 7 to 8 percent.
Due to the location of the pancreas and no notable initial symptoms, early diagnosis of the cancer is challenging, however.
The technology acquired by JW Holdings is an innovative diagnostic platform that enables detection of the progression of pancreatic cancer by simultaneously using substances expressed during the disease’s early and late stage, the company said. The kit is the first of its kind to test CFB antigens found during the early stages of pancreatic cancer. Until now, most pancreatic cancer diagnoses looked for CA19-9, a cancer-specific antigen that reacts primarily in end-stage patients, it added.
According to the results of clinical trials conducted three times in the past year, the kit was able to detect 90 percent or more for each stage of pancreatic cancer. The kit’s specificity of differentiating pancreatic cancer from other tumors was also 98 percent, which showed the highest diagnostic efficiency compared to other devices.
JW Bioscience plans to carry out a large-scale multicenter trial involving more than 500 patients in the future, together with professor Paik’s research team.
“Early detection of pancreatic cancer and treatment with surgery or chemotherapy are important methods of improving patient survival,” a company official said. “However, there are no pancreatic cancer early diagnosis kits approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”
The company plans to finish commercializing the multi-biomarker kit for pancreatic cancer shortly, the official added.
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