A handheld device which can remotely diagnose the presence of cancer cells is on the horizon with biotech company Universal Biosensors (ASX: UBI) partnering with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre on the project.
Under the agreement, Peter Mac will supply cancer patient samples to Universal Biosensors which will use the plasma samples in their trials for Tn Antigen from the handheld point-of-care cancer biosensor.
Samples will include colorectal, breast and prostate cancer cells collected by Peter Mac and will be used by Universal Biosensors to validate the accuracy of Tn and determine the clinically relevant range of Tn concentrations.
“To be working with Peter Mac on the development of UBI’s handheld point-of-care cancer biosensor is very exciting for the Company,” said Universal Biosensors CEO, John Sharman.
“The trial results and any subsequent development work, will form part of any regulatory application to have Tn approved for sale by regulators around the world.
The device is not exactly new territory for UBI which already has other handheld biosensor devices available in the market, however this would be their first foray into cancer diagnostics. Their other devices are used for blood glucose testing and sulfur dioxide testing.
Using real cancer cells for the testing of their cancer biosensor, UBI is aiming for the device to measure a patient’s cancer status initially seeking to identify remission and recurrence. The Company expects the device to be easier and cheaper to operate than current cancer diagnostic tools.
“The blood testing market for cancer remission patients globally is AUD $17 billion per annum. Potentially the Tn biosensor may be used for early cancer diagnosis, disease staging and monitoring of treatment effectiveness,” said Sharman.
Clinical trials of the device are expected to commence next month with UBI expecting to publish results in 2022. Following further refinement and applications for regulatory approval, the device could potentially be on the market as soon as 2024.
For the Half Year ended 30 June 2021, Universal Biosensors reported a 219% increase in revenue to $3.4 million with a 29% improvement to their net loss after tax to $3.2 million.
The strong jump in revenue resulted in UBI securing Sharman and his senior management team on long-term incentive deals which will be locked in until 2023.
“I am extremely confident about the future of UBI and its prospects. We have a world class platform technology and significant opportunities in multiple markets which are deliverable. I am delighted to lock in a longer-term commitment to UBI and look forward to our collective success,” said Sharman.
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