VolitionRx Ltd’s (NYSE AMERICAN:VNRX) wholly owned subsidiary Belgian Volition SPRL inked a collaborative research pact Tuesday with Texas A&M University to focus on the veterinary diagnostic market utilizing its easy to use, cost-effective blood tests to help diagnose a range of cancers.
The Isnes, Belgium-based company has currently designed routine Nu.Q blood-based diagnostic tests to screen for colorectal and prostate cancers in humans that reduce the need for more invasive colonoscopies and biopsies.
VolitionRx is also seeing encouraging preliminary results from the use of its Nu.Q. platform in veterinary medicine after discovering that nucleosomes in the blood can also be detected in dogs. The blood tests are based on the science of nucleosomics, which is the practice of identifying and measuring nucleosomes in the bloodstream — an indication that cancer is present.
Volition shares added a penny to $3.11 in late-morning trade.
The company is working with Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to conduct a study of Nu.Q Vet, a key target market for early revenue given the simpler regulatory pathway for veterinary products.
This Memorandum of Understanding explores the idea of Belgian Volition forming a new subsidiary in the US to focus on the veterinary diagnostic market utilizing its nucleosomics technology with Texas A&M University collaborating further on R&D and potentially taking a stake in the new entity.
"The Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine Oncology Department is excited for the opportunity to collaborate with Volition after some encouraging early work we have done together,” said Dr Heather Wilson-Robles, an associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine. “Volition's innovative work in the early identification of cancer has the potential to significantly impact veterinary oncology as we know it."
Tapping the US veterinary market
The US is currently the largest veterinary market in the world with more than 55 million dogs and approximately 4.2 million cancer diagnoses each year.
"Volition's extensive intellectual property portfolio includes coverage of veterinary applications and we believe that not only could Nu.Q Vet potentially provide significant revenue for Volition, it may also provide further technical validation of our platform in human diagnostics," said Volition CEO Cameron Reynolds. "We are delighted to sign this MOU with Texas A&M and look forward to further developing our relationship together."
Dr Jason Terrell, CEO of Volition America Inc noted that there are currently no accurate, simple, affordable cancer screening or diagnostic tests available in veterinary medicine.
“And yet 25% of dogs will develop cancer at some stage of their life,” said Dr Terrell. “With pricing currently expected to be between $100-$200 per test, we believe that this is a multi-billion-dollar opportunity. We aim to have the first Nu.Q Vet product on the market in the U.S. in 2020."
— Updates with share price —
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