PITTSFIELD -- Nuclea Biotechnologies Inc. has entered into a long term partnership with the Cambridge-based affiliate of a German company that develops tools to provide better personalized care for breast cancer patients.
President and CEO Patrick J. Muraca said Nuclea signed a five year agreement with WILEX Inc., an American subsidiary of WILEX AG of Munich.
Nuclea, which also has offices in Worcester, discovers and develops biomarkers (genes and proteins) along with diagnostic assays that can help predict which course of treatment will be effective for certain patients, depending on their genetic makeup. WILEX has many years of experience developing and manufacturing biomarker tests for oncology, a branch of medicine that deals with the development, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tumors.
The two companies have begun to combine proprietary technology and expertise to create better biological tools aimed at gauging how genes and proteins react to therapy, Muraca said. These tools could be sold to oncology hospitals and primary care physicians to determine the best method of therapy for breast cancer patients. Clinical testing will begin in Pittsfield in April.
"You're giving the cancer patient their best-fitting chance for survival because you're able to help determine what type of therapy [works best] on their cancer," Muraca said.
Citing a confidentiality agreement between the two companies, Muraca declined to provide financial details
He said the partnership will allow Nuclea to hire five new medical technologists for its office in Pittsfield due to the high volume of patient testing and clinical trials that will take place at both the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Medical Center. Testing may also take place at other hospitals, he said.
According to Muraca, 20 percent of patients who have Stage 1 breast cancer have a form of the disease that advances in an unpredictable method, Muraca said. He said the tools developed the companies plan to develop will isolate these individuals from others.
"We hope to have a very comprehensive diagnostic test that will help predict the full prognosis of women with all ranges and types of breast cancer," Muraca said.
WILEX's portfolio includes several blood and protein testing products.
Nuclea has a newly designed $150,000 Pittsfield-based laboratory, expertise and resources to quickly test a large volume of breast cancer patients.
"This will help determine if a breast cancer patient will have a good or bad outcome [from therapy]," Muraca said.
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