UCD spin-out OncoMark acquired by US firm

Establishment of a new company OncoAssure will allow the former OncoMark team to continue to develop novel cancer biomarkers.

OncoMark, a spin-out from the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and the UCD Conway Institute, has been acquired by US business Cepheid Inc for an undisclosed sum.

OncoMark was co-founded by Professor William Gallagher and Steve Penney and was based at NovaUCD, the University’s Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs.

“This will ensure that patients world-wide will be able to reap the considerable benefits of the test”

The company developed a novel test for early-stage breast cancer called OncoMas TR that has the potential to reduce the number of breast cancer patients receiving unnecessary chemotherapy.

The test was CE Marked in preparation for launch in EU markets. With the acquisition of OncoMark by Cepheid, the test will now be launched on Cepheid’s world-leading GeneXpert Platform in global markets.

Genetic drivers

The OncoMasTR test is based on a panel of genetic ‘drivers’ of breast cancer. The original research that resulted in the identification of the panel was led by Professor Adrian Bracken, Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin and involved researchers at the UCD Conway Institute, led by Professor William Gallagher. The OncoMasTR technology was subsequently exclusively licenced by both universities to OncoMark.

Subsequent to the sale of OncoMark earlier this year, a new company OncoAssure was established by former OncoMark senior management with all former OncoMark staff moving across to OncoAssure to continue the development of biomarkers in other cancers, outside of breast cancer. OncoAssure is headquartered at NovaUCD.

“I am very pleased that the novel OncoMasTR test developed by OncoMark will be brought to the clinic and commercialised by Cepheid, a world-leading molecular diagnostic company,” said Des O’Leary, former OncoMark CEO, and now OncoAssure CEO.

“This will ensure that patients world-wide will be able to reap the considerable benefits of the test.”

Main image at top: Des O’Leary, former OncoMark CEO, and now OncoAssure CEO

Recommended