Metabolomic Technologies Inc. (MTI) signs major licensing deal

May. 6, 2016

test tubesColorectal cancer is highly treatable when caught early. But the disease is currently the second leading cause of cancer death in Canada because it is often not diagnosed until the later stages, when it is harder to treat.  Every year, approximately 1600 Albertans are diagnosed with colon cancer, and 600 Albertans will die from the disease. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, about 40,000 lives could be saved if 80 percent of eligible Canadians got screened for colorectal cancer.

An Alberta team hopes to change those statistics. Metabolomic Technologies Inc. (MTI), an Edmonton-based company, has developed a simple urine test, called PolypDX™,  that detects colorectal cancer early. The company has just signed an exclusive, three and a half year, multi-million dollar licensing and distribution agreement in the U.S. with Atlantic Diagnostic Laboratories (ADL) for the test. The agreement means that MTI will make the PolypDx™ test available to patients across twelve eastern states, with plans for wider distribution soon.

AIHS funding and support has been instrumental in the development of this diagnostic tool into a made-in-Alberta success story. Dr. David Wishart and his team, supported in part by AIHS CRIO funding, developed a library of molecules (metabolites) called The Human Metabolome Database. Dr. Richard Fedorak, Dr. Haili Wang and their team at the University of Alberta, supported in part by the Alberta/Pfizer Translational Research fund, used the metabolome database to identify the molecules in urine that would show the presence of polyps in the colon. Further funding to test, validate and commercialize the diagnostic tool was obtained through a partnership between AIHS, Western Economic Diversification (WD) Canada, Alberta Health Services and TEC Edmonton.

About the PolypDx test

The PolypDxTm  test detects pre-cancerous polyps in the colon by identifying specific molecules in the urine that indicate that the polyps have formed. The test uses metabolomics technology—the study of the unique “fingerprints” certain molecules and cellular processes leave behind. The urine test is 97 percent accurate at detecting the polyps, whereas conventional fecal screening detects only about 3 percent to 15 percent accurate. Screening determines which patients need to undergo a colonoscopy to remove the polyps, and stop the progression into colorectal cancer.

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For more information:
Reg Joseph, MBA, Vice President, Health
Reg.Joseph@albertainnovates.ca
(780) 429-6899

In the news

News releases: MTI and PolypDxTM