OncorMed acts to improve its cancer tests

Maryland Watch

August 22, 1996

Gaithersburg-based OncorMed Inc., which markets genetic tests for diseases, said yesterday that it has obtained the rights to use information about certain genetic mutations linked to breast cancer to improve its tests for cancer.

The mutations were discovered by University of California researchers.

OncorMed officials declined to disclose how much the company paid the university for the rights to use the discovery. But Oncor-Med executives said the discovery will be used to broaden the number of gene mutations that the company's test for detecting breast cancer, called the BRCA1 test, can spot.

Researches have found that mutations in the BRCA1 gene account for about 45 percent of inherited cases. Between 5 percent and 10 percent of breast cancer is inherited.

The University of California, where researchers were among the first to isolate a gene-link to breast cancer, is seeking patent protection on its discoveries about the mutations. The patent might give OncorMed a marketing edge for its BRCA1 test. Several competitors have developed their own BRCA1 tests.

Pub Date: 8/22/96

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