Olympus and Saladax Biomedical enter development agreement to accelerate a blood test expected to help oncologists more effectively dose 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), a widely used chemotherapy agent
The 5-FU test will enable more timely and cost-effective dosing, thereby optimising therapeutic effects and minimising toxicity among the 1.5 million patients treated annually around the world.
Pursuant to this agreement, SBI will adapt the first of a line of personalised chemotherapy management (PCM) assays for quantifying the concentration of 5-FU (Rubex/Efudex/Adrucil) in cancer patients to the Olympus AU400 clinical chemistry system, while the parties finalise the terms of the non-exclusive multi-year distribution agreement.
5-FU is indicated primarily for colorectal, gastrointestinal, breast and head and neck cancers.
In addition to the typically associated toxic side-effects of 5-FU such as soreness of the mouth, difficulty swallowing, diarrhoea, stomach pain, neutropenia and neuropathy, some patients face life threatening consequences from 5-FU treatment.
Three to five percent of the population have an enzyme deficiency (DPD deficiency) that is crucial for the metabolism and deactivation of 5-FU.
Such patients suffer from severe side effects, even death, with smallest doses and often with the very first dose of 5-FU.
"There is a large body of published clinical evidence that managing 5-FU dosing by measuring blood concentration has a significant positive impact on response to therapy and reduction of toxic side-effects.
"However, today doctors have no clinical relevant tool by which to get this information.
"Saladax plans to launch a simple 5-FU test within the year and we are pleased by the prospect of having it offered by a highly respected and quality partner such as Olympus," said Salvatore Salamone, chairman and chief executive officer of Saladax.