South Korea’s JW Holdings said Thursday it has received a patent in China for its liquid biopsy technology to detect early-stage pancreatic cancer.
JW Bioscience, a subsidiary of JW Holdings, is now developing a multi-biomarker diagnostic kit and an algorithm that can detect pancreatic cancer during its early stages with a simple blood test. JW Holdings said an explanatory clinical trial will be carried out in the second half of this year.
The proprietary technology transferred from a Yonsei University research team led by Prof. Paik Young-ki is an innovative diagnostic platform that enables detection of pancreatic cancer by simultaneously using substances found in early and late stages of the disease, the company said.
Until now, most pancreatic cancer diagnoses relied on testing CA19-9, a cancer-specific antigen that reacts primarily in end-stage patients, but the new kit is the first of its kind to test complement factor b (CFB) antigens found during the early stages of pancreatic cancer.
JW Holdings holds patent rights for the technology also in Korea and Japan. It already filed for patent registration in the U.S. and Europe. JW Holdings said it is better positioned to ensure its fast entry into the overseas in-vitro diagnostics market with a growing list of countries where the patent is granted.
Pancreatic cancer kills about 1,000 persons each day worldwide and it affects about 6,600 people in Korea each year. The five-year relative survival rate for patients with this cancer is a mere 11 percent - the lowest among all cancer types – to heighten the significance of early diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer often progresses asymptomatically as the pancreas is a retroperitoneal organ, sitting deep in the torso, and its symptoms are mostly non-specific, making it difficult to detect it at early stages.
According to data compiled by Mordor Intelligence, the global pancreatic cancer market was valued at $1.73 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow at a 13 percent CAGR to $3.18 in 2020.
By Seo Jin-woo and Minu Kim
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