TAMPA, Fla. (April 9, 2013) – A Moffitt Cancer Center start-up company and the National Cancer Institute are collaborating on a new test to determine which cancer patients will benefit from radiation therapy. CvergenX, Inc., an advanced cancer diagnostics start-up, has signed a partnership deal with the NCI’s Clinical Assay Development Program to harness a molecular signature index technology called InterveneXRT™. CvergenX created the gene-based diagnostic technology, which Moffitt owns and licensed to CvergenX in June 2010.
“Developing a radiosensitivity predictive assay has been a goal of radiation biology for decades,” said Javier F. Torres-Roca, M.D., a member of the Chemical Biology and Molecular Medicine Program at Moffitt and co-founder and chief scientific officer of CvergenX. “This effort supports the emphasis on personalized medicine, where the goal is to use molecular signatures to guide therapeutic decisions.”
According to Torres-Roca, approximately 60 percent of all cancer patients receive radiotherapy during their treatment. Until now, no molecular diagnostic or biomarker for radiosensitivity had been developed to predict its benefit. Through a series of clinical trials, Torres-Roca has validated the molecular signature efficacy of InterveneXRT™ for patients with rectal, esophageal, head and neck, and breast cancers. The NCI partnership will help develop an assay that is ready for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for commercialization.
“The growing entrepreneurial spirit at Moffitt has contributed to the formation of 12 faculty start-ups over the past few years,” said Jarett Rieger, director of the Office of Technology Management and Commercialization. “CvergenX, Inc. is one step closer to launching a game-changing prediction test for radiation therapy as a result of their exciting partnership with the NCI.”
The mission of the Office of Technology Management and Commercialization is to advance technologies through partnership between Moffitt faculty and industry. To commercialize Moffitt’s intellectual property, the office forges industry collaborations, grants licenses to industry, and facilitates startup launches.
About Moffitt Cancer Center
Located in Tampa, Moffitt is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, its contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Since 1999, Moffitt has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer. With more than 4,200 employees, Moffitt has an economic impact on the state of nearly $2 billion. For more information, visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the Moffitt momentum on Facebook, twitter and YouTube.