Asterand Gets $6.5M Cancer Research Deal With NIH

DETROIT — Asterand Bioscience says it has been awarded a five-year, $6.5 million contract from the National Institutes of Health to provide oncology specimens with associated clinical data to the Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium.

The CPTAC is a coordinated effort to accelerate the understanding of the molecular basis of cancer by systematically identifying proteins that are produced from changes in cancer cells compared to normal cells. It’s hoped new cancer diagnostic and treatment technology will be derived from this knowledge.

Asterand has been working with the NIH since 2010 and has provided more than 1,500 unique tumor specimens with more than 2,500 individual clinical data sets to the CPTAC and The Cancer Genome Atlas.

“The TCGA and CPTAC projects are creating comprehensive new data sets about the nature of cancer and making them available to researchers globally.” said Asterand’s Michael Button, who is principal investigator on the project. “The aim is to greatly accelerate the cure for cancer. We are delighted that the NIH recognizes our ability to provide high quality and well annotated tissues with matching biofluids and has elected to extend our partnership.”

Added Peter Ferrigno, Asterand chief commercial officer: “We are confident that the initiatives of the NIH will strengthen the research communities’ ability to find the cures for the cancers that invade us.”

Detroit-based Asterand provides high quality, well characterized human tissue samples and human tissue research to drug discovery scientists. Its mission is to accelerate the identification and validation of drug targets and enhance the selection of drug candidates with increased likelihood of clinical success.

Asterand was formed in 2006 through the merger of Detroit-based Asterand (founded 2000), a human tissue biorepository, and Royston, England-bsaed Pharmagene (founded 1996), a human tissue-based drug discovery company.

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