Zomedica Pharmaceuticals Corp. has entered into a license and supply agreement with Celsee Inc., an innovator of progressive rare cell capture, characterization, and retrieval products in the emerging field of liquid biopsy. Under the terms of the agreement, Zomedica will have animal health exclusive global rights to develop and market Celsee’s liquid biopsy platform for use by veterinarians as a cancer diagnostic.
A liquid biopsy is a blood test with the potential to detect the presence of circulating tumor cells in the blood. Circulating tumor cells (CTC) are shed from a primary tumor into neighboring blood vessels and are transported throughout the body’s circulatory system. The detection of CTCs in the blood could indicate a cancer diagnosis without the need for an invasive tissue biopsy, according to Zomedica.
“Liquid biopsy is cutting-edge technology in human medicine right now and we’re excited about the opportunity to develop and market this platform for use in veterinary medicine,” stated Gerald Solensky, Jr., CEO at Zomedica. “We selected the Celsee platform because of the ease of use, workflow simplicity, and flexibility to use our novel canine biomarkers. If we successfully develop Celsee’s technology, we believe we will be able to provide veterinarians with a best-in-class product they deserve when caring for their patients.”
“Our automated sample-to-result liquid biopsy platform not only exceeds current efficiency standards but also reduces the complexity involved in the capture and counting of circulating tumor cells,” stated Kalyan Handique, PhD, President at Celsee. “This agreement means we can continue to validate our technology and substantiate its value for use in prognosis and therapeutic decision making in additional species.”
Using Celsee’s liquid biopsy platform, Zomedica initially intends to develop and market ZM-017, a non-invasive diagnostic assay or blood test that helps veterinarians diagnose cancer in canines.
If the development of ZM-017 is successful, it will provide veterinarians with a faster, more affordable, and less invasive test for cancer in canines compared to existing methods, which can be expensive and cost prohibitive for pet owners, according to Zomedica. The company said it estimates the out-of-pocket cost incurred by pet owners for ZM-017 will be less expensive compared to current testing methods, which can cost thousands of dollars depending on the presentation and type of suspected cancer.
Zomedica expects to commence clinical validation of Celsee’s CTC detection technology in the first half of 2018 to determine whether CTCs can be detected in canines to confirm the existence of certain cancers with a high level of sensitivity and specificity. Assuming successful completion of the technology validation, Zomedica expects to commence the marketing of ZM-017 during the second half of 2018, as there is no pre-market regulatory burden in the United States.