LONDON, Oct. 25 /CNW/ - Epistem plc (LSE: EHP), the UK epithelial stem
cell company, announced today that data on its plucked hair biomarker platform
will be presented at the joint international meeting of the American
Association for Cancer Research (AACR), National Cancer Institute (NCI) and
European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) being held
in San Francisco, California, from October 22nd -26th 2007.
Epistem's biomarker technology is a potentially powerful tool to enable
drug companies to measure the effects of new cancer treatments over time in a
minimally invasive manner. The biomarker technology is targeted at informing
on the early-stage assessment of drugs in preclinical development thereby
assisting go/no-go development decisions and reducing the risk of an expensive
drug failure in later clinical trials.
The biomarker technology works by taking individual plucked human hairs
at various times during cancer treatment and analysing mRNA gene expression
changes. Using this approach a core gene set or 'gene signature' is derived in
relation to the test drug treatment. Gene expression change in hairs can
provide drug development companies with a measure of drug exposure, toxicity,
dose/schedule and patient selection in preclinical and clinical drug
development. This approach also has the potential to offer oncologists a
simple means to more effectively treat cancer patients.
A joint poster presentation will be undertaken with AstraZeneca plc
demonstrating the utility of measuring mRNA expression in individual plucked
human scalp hairs. Furthermore, the quality of the single hair gene expression
data opens up the possibility of using this approach to evaluate drug response
in a clinical setting.
An abstract can be viewed on the AACR website at http://www.aacr.org or
under 'latest news' at the Epistem website at http://www.epistem.co.uk
EpiStem is a biotechnology company commercialising adult stem cells in
the areas of oncology and gastrointestinal diseases as well as cosmeceutical
applications. EpiStem develops innovative therapeutics and diagnostic
biomarkers and provides contract research services to drug development
companies. The Group's expertise is focused on the regulation of adult stem
cells located in epithelial tissue, which includes the gastrointestinal tract,
skin, hair follicles, breast and prostate. EpiStem does not conduct research
in the areas of embryonic stem cells or stem cell transplantation.
EpiStem operates two distinct business divisions, Contract Research
Services and Novel Therapies.
Contract Research Services
Contract Research Services provides specialised preclinical efficacy
testing primarily for drug development companies on a fee for service basis.
This division on a standalone basis is cash generative and profitable with a
five-year track record of providing testing services to over 72 international
company clients primarily in Europe and the United States.
Novel Therapies is focused on developing its own innovative therapeutics
and diagnostic biomarkers. Through its discovery platform, Novel Therapies has
identified 250 potential drug candidates, of which a subset will undergo
further evaluation as stem cell regulators for the Group's emerging drug
development pipeline. Novel Therapies is also developing its clinical
diagnostic biomarker technology.
Combined Business Model
The Group is exploiting its combined business model to advance its own
therapeutic candidates to late preclinical stage development. The business
model integrates the discovery efforts of Novel Therapies with the efficacy
testing assays of its Contract Research Services Division, to identify and
characterise new drug candidates. Revenues generated by Contract Research
Services will assist in offsetting Novel Therapies' investment requirements
for the discovery and development of therapeutics. In February 2007, EpiStem
licensed its first drug candidate to a clinical development company. With the
validation of the Novel Therapies discovery platform and the achievement of
discovery milestones, the Directors believe that additional licensing
partnerships will be forthcoming for therapeutics, diagnostics and
cosmeceuticals starting in 2008.
For further information:
For further information: Matthew Walls, CEO Epistem Holdings Plc,
+44(0)161-606-7258; Mike Wort/Anna Dunphy, MC Bio-Communications,