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GeneNews Secures $2 Million for Prostate Tests

GeneNews (formerly ChondroGene), a Toronto-based molecular diagnostics firm, has secured $2 million in funding through an agreement with an Asian Biomedical consortium. GeneNews' most advanced product is ColonSentry -- a non-invasive test that seeks to replace uncomfortable screening procedures like colonoscopies -- but this latest funding will go toward development of a second product, for early detection and management of prostate diseases. "While our primary focus is currently on the development of our lead colon cancer product, ColonSentry, this non-dilutive investment will allow us accelerate the development of a second product in our Sentry pipeline," said GeneNews CEO K. Wayne Marshall, in a statement. "Given the results we have generated to date in prostate cancer, we are well positioned to deliver on these objectives." In June 2006, GeneNews reported results from a study that identified a set of blood biomarkers which were able to distinguish patients with aggressive forms of prostate cancer from controls. This second product, to be known as ProstateSentry if biomarkers are successfully identified, will be developed using the same technology platform as ColonSentry. Called Sentinel Principle, the platform identifies biomarkers by analyzing a patient's blood. The technology was developed in 1999 by GeneNews' co-founder and chief scientific officer, C.C. Liew, and is based on the idea that circulating blood reflects, in a detectable way, what is occurring throughout the body. Under the agreement, all intellectual property generated in the identification and validation of prostate disease biomarkers will remain vested in GeneNews. The investing consortium will be entitled to receive certain royalties from commercial sales of ProstateSentry.

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