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Novel blood test for predicting response to cancer therapy to be commercialized by Ludwig start-up Serametrix Corporation

Dec 9, 2013

December 9, 2013, New York, NY – Ludwig startup Serametrix Corporation has announced the launch of an important new blood test for cancer patients. The test measures a patient’s level of circulating Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells (MDSCs) that are known to decrease anti-tumor immunity and are associated with poor survival rates in cancer patients. The service will initially be offered to drug companies engaged in the clinical development of experimental immunotherapies. In the future, the test may also be used as a way for clinicians to monitor the likelihood of recurrence in cancer patients.

The test was developed under the direction of Jedd Wolchok and Alex Lesokhin, Ludwig researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). The license agreement between MSKCC and Serametrix also covers the use of the test in the clinic, for example, to enable physicians to determine whether a cancer patient is a suitable candidate for approved immunotherapy.

The Ludwig researchers recently discovered that patients with low levels of a sub-group of MDSCs were more likely to respond well to ipilimumab, an immunotherapy approved for the treatment of melanoma.

“This novel assay has the potential to become a valuable tool in the clinical development of immune therapy in cancer patients,” said Wolchok, director of the Ludwig Collaborative Laboratory at MSKCC and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board at Serametrix.

The assay will be offered as a fee-for-service and samples will be analyzed at the Serametrix facility in Carlsbad, California. A separate agreement allows for the co-development of a sample collection and handling strategy to enable scaled-up support of later phase clinical trials. 

The new test will be an important addition to an existing suite of assays already offered by Serametrix. Such assays include the NY-ESO-1 serum profiling assay licensed in 2009 from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in New York which part owns Serametrix.  “Our serum profiling business has seen strong growth in recent years,” said Henry Hepburne-Scott, Director of Business Development at Serametrix. “This new assay will help us to meet future demands for patient monitoring as the substantial growth of cancer immunomonitoring continues.”

About Serametrix Corp.

Serametrix technology measures patients’ humoral and cellular immunity to proprietary panels of tumor antigens. These assays enable discovery and validation of biomarkers that have utility in drug development and clinical applications. For example, monitoring patient reactivity to key antigen panels can provide valuable insight into the effects of drugs on anti-cancer immunity. By combining the knowledge base of best-in-class researchers and clinicians, Serametrix is able to provide a more rational approach to patient treatment.

About Ludwig Cancer Research

Ludwig Cancer Research is an international collaborative network of acclaimed scientists with a 40-year legacy of pioneering cancer discoveries. Ludwig combines basic research with the ability to translate its discoveries and conduct clinical trials to accelerate the development of new cancer diagnostics and therapies. Since 1971, Ludwig has invested more than $1.6 billion in life-changing cancer research through the not-for-profit Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the six U.S.-based Ludwig Centers. www.ludwigcancerresearch.org