Ann Arbor-based veterinary pharmaceutical and diagnostic company Zomedica Pharmaceuticals Corp. today announced a license and supply agreement with Celsee Inc. in the emerging field of liquid biopsy. Under the terms of the agreement, Zomedica will pay Celsee $500,000 up front and an additional $250,0000 in stock for 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 test with the potential to detect the presence of circulating tumor cells (CTC) in the blood, once they are shed from the primary tumor and are transported through 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.
“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,” says 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.”
Using Celsee’s liquid biopsy platform, Zomedica initially intends to develop and market a non-invasive diagnostic blood test to help veterinarians diagnose cancer in dogs. The Veterinary Cancer Society estimates that 50 percent of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer and one in four dogs will develop cancer at some stage of life. Many more canine cancer cases go undetected due to financial constraints and other factors.
If the development is successful, Zomedica expects the out-of-pocket cost incurred by pet owners will be reduced significantly compared to existing testing methods, which can cost thousands of dollars.
Zomedica expects to begin clinical validation of Celsee’s CTC detection technology in the first half of 2018 and if successful, the company expects to begin marketing the tool during the second half of the year because there is no pre-market regulatory burden in the United States.