BioCurex Announces Commercialization Of OncoPet RECAFTM, The First Blood Test For Cancer Detection In Companion Animals
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BioCurex Inc. (OTCBB:BOCX), a biotechnology company developing products based on patented technology in the areas of cancer diagnostics, announced that it has launched the commercialization of its OncoPet RECAF test for cancer detection in dogs. The test detected 85 percent of a variety of cancers in dogs, at the standard 95 percent specificity level in pre-market studies. The Company believes that this launch represents the first commercialization of a blood-based test for the universal detection of cancer in companion animals. The test detects the presence of RECAF, a universal marker for malignant cell growth in humans and animals. BioCurex developed and patented the RECAF technology for cancer applications.
The new testing service will be offered to veterinarians and animal clinical laboratories through BioCurex's new wholly owned subsidiary OncoPet Diagnostics Inc. OncoPet Diagnostics will assume responsibility for marketing and commercialization of the testing service on a global basis, both directly and through local and international distributorships. Depending on their location, veterinarians will be requested to send samples either directly to the OncoPet testing facility or to regional collection centers.
"Initially, OncoPet Diagnostics will provide testing services in a similar manner to traditional clinical laboratories," said BioCurex Executive Chairman Denis Burger, Ph.D. "One notable distinction is that we will produce all the necessary reagents for the test and the testing service will be performed in-house at our BioCurex facilities. This ensures a rapid path to commercialization, is more profitable than selling test kits and requires no regulatory approvals."
In order to commercialize the testing service, OncoPet Diagnostics will pre-sell vouchers to distributors, each valid for one test. The distributor then will sell the vouchers to the veterinarians who will send the voucher with the sample to our testing facility. OncoPet Diagnostics has developed a sophisticated software system to manage the ordering, testing and reporting process. This system can be easily replicated, which allows for future expansion with minimal expense, as well as facilitate remote monitoring and quality control.
OncoPet is currently engaged in discussions with distributors in North America and Europe. In addition, the OncoPet RECAF test will be offered in China, where according to recent reports, the pet market is rapidly expanding. This service will be offered by BioCurex's wholly owned subsidiary, BioCurex China Ltd., in Shanghai.
The Company expects to expand this testing service to other companion animals, notably cats, in the second half of 2010.
The processing capacity of OncoPet's current testing facilities is estimated to be 500-1,000 OncoPet RECAF tests per day. In North America, the OncoPet RECAF test will be marketed to distributors at approximately U.S. $40 per test. In British Columbia alone, with a population exceeding 4 million, over 120,000 routine blood tests are carried out on pets every year.
The following statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Association and other sources are of relevance to the OncoPet market introduction:
- In 2006, approximately 50 percent of pet owners considered their pets to be family members.
- There are more than 72 million pet dogs in the U.S. which is approximately one dog for every four people and nearly 82 million pet cats.
- The average veterinary expenditure per household for all pets was $366 in 2006.
- Overall, four out of every 1,000 dogs get cancer every year.
"The fact that we will commercialize the OncoPet RECAF test directly does not preclude us from licensing our technology or joint-venturing with other veterinarian diagnostic companies," noted Dr. Burger. "Each particular opportunity will be evaluated on a one-on-one basis."
Dr. Ricardo Moro-Vidal, Chief Executive Officer of BioCurex and President of OncoPet Diagnostics, stated, "We have worked very hard to launch our first direct commercial initiative in a large commercial market. It is of paramount importance to keep in mind that the OncoPet RECAF test for companion animals is not a substitution for our RECAF tests designed to detect cancer in human patients, but rather an addition aimed to accelerate revenue generation while the human tests move through the pre-marketing phases before commercialization. This represents a major step in our diligent work on all fronts to make BioCurex, Inc. a commercially successful enterprise. We believe that the OncoPet RECAF tests, along with other initiatives will allow us to become cash flow positive within 18 months."
For more information about OncoPet Diagnostics Inc., please visit: http://www.oncopetdiagnostics.com.
What is RECAF?
RECAF is a molecule that is present on cancer cells but not detected in significant levels on healthy cells or benign tumor cells. The expression of RECAF is related to rapid cell growth, which is characteristic of both cancer and fetal development. RECAF is the receptor for alpha-fetoprotein and is classified as an oncofetal antigen due to its presence on both fetal and malignant tissues. This characteristic enables RECAF to more accurately detect cancer than many current tumor markers, as RECAF is less likely to report a false positive result. The blood test for RECAF is identical for humans and companion animals.
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