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Asuragen Enters Oncology Collaboration with Merck to Develop Pharmacogenomic Tests

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct 23, 2007 - Asuragen Pharmacogenomic Services, a division of Asuragen, Inc. (Austin, Texas), has entered into a research collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc. to develop a biomarker and pharmacogenomic test for cancer clinical trials.

Under the terms of the agreement, Asuragen will apply the information gained from an expression signature identified by Merck's oncology research program to the development of a diagnostic assay for use in Merck's cancer clinical trials and to potentially form the basis for commercial companion diagnostic tests for oncology therapies.

Asuragen will receive an undisclosed payment for the development of the test, which is expected to be completed in 2008. Upon completion of assay development and validation, Asuragen will be eligible for additional payments associated with successful transfer of the diagnostic assays to clinical reference laboratories.

"Asuragen's business model of providing GLP molecular biology services, CLIA testing capabilities, and GMP diagnostic assay development and manufacture is uniquely suited to collaborate with pharmaceutical partners in the clinical validation of drugs in development and the potential future companion diagnostic tests," said Matt Winkler, Ph.D., CEO/CSO of Asuragen. "The collaboration with Merck is strong validation of Asuragen's services capabilities and diagnostic assay development expertise and could lead to diagnostic tests that predict appropriate and improved therapies for the treatment of cancer."

About Asuragen:

Asuragen is a molecular biology service provider and fully integrated diagnostic reagent company focused on molecular oncology and early detection of cancer, with emphasis on miRNA. The Asuragen Pharmacogenomic Services Division provides a comprehensive range of molecular services empowering commercial and academic scientists to rapidly acquire a wide range of molecular data. Asuragen's rich legacy in RNA serves as a focal point for all of its services, including Gene Expression Profiling, miRNA Expression Profiling, data analysis and bioinformatics support, and nucleic acid isolation. Asuragen's cGLP services are suitable for clinical research studies, pharmacogenomics, and biomarker discovery.

Asuragen also provides a high level of expertise in assay development, a well developed business infrastructure, and an established cGMP manufacturing facility that allow it to span the spectrum of discovery, testing, production, and commercialization. Asuragen is dedicated to developing new technologies that will lead to cutting edge clinical products.


Cindy WalkerPeach, PhD, 512-681-5216
Corporate Business Development

Posted: October 2007