A&G Pharmaceutical Receives $870,000 Grant from Avon Foundation to Advance Innovative Blood Diagnostic Test for Early Detection of Breast Cancer
COLUMBIA, Md., December 14, 2007—
A&G Pharmaceutical announced today that the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Prevention Research Initiative has awarded A&G an $870,000 grant to conduct multicenter clinical studies focused on measuring levels of A&G’s proprietary breast cancer biomarker, GP88, in blood and tissue samples from breast cancer patients. Results of the studies could provide the basis for developing a blood test that would enable early detection of breast cancer.
The award was one of 12 grants totaling more than $7 million awarded this year by the Avon Foundation as part of its Breast Cancer Prevention Research Initiative, and it is the first ever awarded by the foundation to a private company.
The GP88 blood diagnostic test is one of two breast cancer test kits in late-stage development by A&G. In addition to the blood test, A&G is developing a tissue biopsy test that would help pathologists and oncologists predict risk of recurrence in breast cancer patients. Both diagnostic tests are based on A&G’s patented, proprietary GP88 growth factor, a protein found in circulating blood and tissue of breast cancer patients. Concurrently, A&G is developing a monoclonal antibody therapeutic that neutralizes the function of GP88 in breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute recently awarded A&G a $120,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to support development of this new anti-GP88 therapeutic.
“Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women—a projected 1.2 million new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year—and early detection, when the disease is most treatable, continues to be a major worldwide challenge,” said Carol Kurzig, Executive Director of the Avon Foundation. “We are very pleased to make this award to A&G Pharmaceutical, whose highly sensitive GP88 test has the potential to detect breast cancer cells at the earliest stage of the disease.”
“We greatly appreciate Avon’s support as we accelerate the development of a GP88 blood diagnostic test and our goal of establishing GP88 as the most sensitive and reliable marker for early breast cancer detection,” said Ginette Serrero, PhD, CEO of A&G.
About A&G Pharmaceutical
A&G Pharmaceutical is a theranostics company creating and developing monoclonal antibodies to cancer-specific targets as a basis for novel therapeutic and diagnostic products. A&G’s therapeutics division is pursuing development of anti-GP88 and other monoclonal antibody drugs for cancer. On the diagnostics side, A&G is developing tissue and serum test kits that will improve early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer based on GP88. One of the diagnostic products—a biopsy test kit currently in clinical trials—will also serve as a companion diagnostic to anti-GP88 immunotherapy. Early clinical studies validating the tests have been conducted at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center and supported by grants from the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program and National Cancer Institute Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. A&G’s Precision Antibody™ service unit generates revenue to fund the drug development effort by providing customized antibodies to leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as federal laboratories. A&G has raised $14 million of equity capital and is located in Columbia, Md.
About the Avon Foundation
The Avon Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, was founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women and their families. Now past the half century mark, the Avon Foundation brings this mission to life through two key areas: breast cancer and domestic violence, with support also for emergency and disaster relief for women and their families. Through 2007 Avon global philanthropy in 50 countries worldwide has raised and awarded more than $580 million. There are two flagship programs, the first being the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, which supports access to care and finding a cure through funding for five areas of the breast cancer cause: awareness and education; screening and diagnosis; access to treatment; support services; and scientific research. The second is the Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program which was launched in 2004 and is focused on domestic violence awareness, education, direct service and prevention programs. Visit the website for more information, to get involved, or to access free educational literature.