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Apis Assay Technologies, Moffitt Cancer Center to Evaluate RNA Biomarkers for Cancer Progression

NEW YORK – Apis Assay Technologies has signed a master collaboration agreement with Tampa, Florida-based Moffitt Cancer Center to determine the suitability of TROLL-2 and TROLL-3 long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) as predictive biomarkers for cancer progression.

The Manchester, UK-based firm will partner with the lab of Elsa Flores, department chair of the molecular oncology department at the Moffit Cancer Center, and postdoc Marco Napoli to initially determine the feasibility of the lncRNAs as a diagnostic tool for the prediction of treatment efficacy and prognosis in chemo-resistant triple negative breast cancers (TNBCs).

The team noted that TNBCs are among the most therapeutically challenging human cancers and are frequently characterized by the hyperactivation of the PI3K/AKT pathway and gain-of-function mutation of the tumor suppressor TP53.

The group will also analyze non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma as potential diagnostic targets for the TROLL biomarkers.

"The collaboration with Dr. Flores and the Moffit team expands the APIS biomarker portfolio by targeting the p53 family pathway, with potential companion diagnostic applications," Ian Kavanagh, chief operating officer of Apis, said in a statement.

Apis CEO Joachim Schorr noted that the firm obtained a worldwide exclusive license earlier this year for the commercial development of TROLL-2 and TROLL-3 from the Moffit Cancer Center, which it believes will build the ground for commercial in vitro development of the biomarkers

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

"The R&D collaboration with APIS will provide a clear and realistic path to provide new diagnostic applications to the patients," Flores added.