KALAMAZOO — The Apifiny blood test for prostate cancer developed by Kalamazoo-based Armune BioScience Inc. will be promoted by Quebec City, Quebec-based Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (Nasdaq: AEZS) under a co-marketing agreement announced Tuesday.
Apifiny is the only cancer specific, non-PSA blood test for the detection of prostate cancer.
Under the co-marketing agreement, Aeterna will promote the test to designated medical professionals in its United States territories and will receive a commission for each test performed resulting from its targeted promotion.
“Apifiny represents an important addition to clinical information pertaining to the detection of prostate cancer,” said Aeterna senior vice president and chief commercial officer Jude Dinges. “It is a simple, non-PSA based measure for patients and their clinicians to aid in assessment of prostate cancer risk. Importantly, this product enhances our focus on the oncology marketplace in general and on the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of prostate cancer in particular. It was recently reported that our Zoptrex product has demonstrated potential as a treatment for certain types of prostate cancer in an investigator-sponsored Phase II trial and, therefore, we have a keen interest in products that relate to the condition.”
Added David A. Dodd, chairman, president and CEO of Aeterna: “Promoting Apifiny will give our sales force experience in the oncology market, which will serve us well as we move toward the commercialization of Zoptrex, if it is approved by the FDA. We are also looking forward to developing a much more in-depth relationship with Armune in connection with the evaluation of Zoptrex for prostate cancer and perhaps other indications.”
And Armune president and CEO DAvid A. Esposito said: “The experience and expertise of the commercial and research teams at Aeterna Zentaris will be extremely helpful to Armune as we accelerate the growth of Apifiny and develop our autoantibody technology across major areas of unmet need in cancer. In less than eight months on the market, Apifiny has been ordered over 2,500 times as clinicians move beyond PSA-based testing to assess prostate cancer risk. Aeterna Zentaris will help us achieve the full potential of this opportunity.”
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, trailing only lung cancer. The American Cancer Society predicted that 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States would occur in 2015, and that there would be 27,540 prostate cancer deaths during the year. ACS also says one man in seven would be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. About 60 percent of prostate cancer is diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, but most men with prostate cancer do not die from it. In fact, more than 2.9 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive today.
Apifiny technology measures the body’s immune response to cancer and is based on the measurement of eight prostate-cancer-specific autoantibodies in human serum. These autoantibodies are produced and amplified by the immune system in response to the presence of prostate cancer cells. The autoantibodies are stable and, because of their amplification, are likely to be abundant and easy to detect, especially with small tumors characteristic of early-stage cancers. The autoantibody markers span a range of biological functions integral to prostate-cancer progression. Cell cycle, structure, and cellular signaling pathways are all represented. The use of Apifiny results supplement other information about a patient’s risk of prostate cancer and may aid clinicians in the detection of prostate
Armune is a medical diagnostics company that develops and commercializes technology exclusively licensed from the University of Michigan for diagnostic and prognostic tests for cancer. The company is headquartered in Kalamazoo and has a research and commercial laboratory in Ann Arbor. For more information, visit www.armune.com.
Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical company engaged in developing and commercializing novel treatments in oncology, endocrinology and women’s health. For more information, visit www.aezsinc.com.