Inoviq and University of Queensland expand collaboration

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Inoviq (ASX:IIQ) has expanded its collaboration with The University of Queensland (UQ) to develop a world-first exosome-based ovarian cancer screening test.

Exosomes are a type of extracellular vesicle (EV) that are small particles (around 30-150 nm) released by most cells into biofluids such as blood, urine and saliva. They contain different types of bioactive molecules such as DNAs, RNAs, proteins and lipids that convey important information about their parent cell that can be used for the identification of biomarkers, diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Inoviq’s EXO-NET technology captures exosomes from the blood to enable the development of multiomic diagnostic tests that combine the multiple biomarkers in an algorithm for the earlier and more accurate detection of various diseases such as cancer, inflammatory, metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases.

Inoviq previously announced that researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) identified and validated exosomal protein and micro RNA (miRNA) biomarkers that combined in the OCRF-7 algorithm showed over 90 per cent accuracy to detect stages one and two ovarian cancer in a 500-sample retrospective case-control study.

Additionally, UQ conducted an initial evaluation of the company's patented EXO-NET pan-exosome capture product compared to the university's in-house size exclusion chromatography method for isolation of the relevant exosomal biomarkers. They concluded that EXO-NET provided simple and rapid capture of the exosomal biomarkers with high purity and yield.

Inoviq and UQ have now expanded their collaboration to further evaluate EXO-NET. If successful, UQ will use EXO-NET technology in the development of the UQ OCRF-7 ovarian cancer test.

The collaborative partnership is under an Umbrella Research and Option Agreement that allows the parties to put in place specific project agreements over time when required for the ongoing development of the UQ OCRF-7 ovarian cancer test.

Inoviq worked with UQ’s commercialisation company UniQuest to negotiate this agreement which provides INOVIQ with an exclusive option to license UQ’s intellectual property in the OCRF-7 ovarian cancer test.

The first project involves the further evaluation and use of EXO-NET to identify additional informative biomarkers for inclusion in UQ’s OCRF-7 ovarian cancer test.

Inoviq said it will provide its EXO-NET product, in-kind expertise and research funding. The project is expected to be completed within 12 weeks.

EXO-NET will then be used for exosome isolation in the ongoing development of UQ’s exosome-based earlier detection test for ovarian cancer. This includes UQ’s translational research project funded by the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), under which Inoviq will contribute its EXO-NET exosome capture product, in-kind expertise and pay patent costs.

Should Inoviq request UQ to undertake any additional translational research and development then it will be enabled through the Umbrella Research and Option Agreement.

“There remains a clear unmet need for the earlier detection of ovarian cancer,” said Dr Dean Moss, the CEO of UniQuest.

“We are extremely pleased to collaborate with Australian-based company INOVIQ to combine our innovative technologies and expertise in biomarker discovery, exosome isolation and clinical translation to advance UQ’s promising new exosome-based test for ovarian cancer towards key development milestones.”