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Van Andel Research Institute, Dako In Deal To License Cancer Diagnostic Tool

GRAND RAPIDS -- The Grand Rapids-based Van Andel Research Institute and Dako, the Danish-based, worldwide supplier of cancer diagnostic tools announced an agreement to license, manufacture and distribute cancer diagnostics utilizing the MET4 Antibody.

The MET4 Antibody, developed by George F. Vande Woude and Brian Cao of VARI, and Beatrice Knudsen, formerly of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has undergone and continues to undergo rigorous testing in numerous research labs worldwide.

MET4 works exceptionally well with tumors expressing the human MET oncogene and biopsies using routine immunohistochemical procedures.

Diagnostic tools with the MET4 Antibody will be developed and manufactured by Dako for clinically relevant diagnostic indications and commercialized worldwide. Dako also holds the right to develop MET4 companion diagnostic assays (pharmDx assays) in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies to identify cancer patients who may benefit from MET-targeted therapies.

"The application of the MET4 Antibody in Dako's extensive pharmDx development pipeline will expand the growing numbers of high quality companion diagnostic pharmDx kit solutions released from Dako and further improve patient characterization and selection for tailored drug treatment," said Lars Holmkvist, CEO of Dako.

"MET is a very important target in the development of anti-cancer drugs," said Van Andel Institute chairman and CEO David Van Andel. "It is gratifying to see efforts translated from the lab to the clinical setting where they can have an immediate impact on human health."

Inappropriate MET activity and signaling occur in human tumors, which can affect the growth of cancer cells. In the past several years, many drugs targeting the hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF)-MET pathway have been developed. These include antibodies against HGF/SF, and MET and small-molecule inhibitors of MET activity. Studies currently underway link MET to more than 30 different types of cancer (see

"Studies have shown that targeting MET signaling can have potent antitumor effects, and it is therefore important to identify patient subgroups most likely to benefit from MET-targeted therapies," said Vande Woude, VARI's founding research director in whose laboratory MET was discovered.

"The quality of the MET4 Antibody is superb, and it faithfully reports the amount of MET in single cancer cells," Knudsen said. "It will provide an extremely valuable tool for pathologists and as a companion diagnostic to determine the best treatment for cancer patients."

Dako, based in Denmark, is a global leader in tissue-based cancer diagnostics. Hospital and research laboratories worldwide use Dako's know-how, reagents, instruments and software to make accurate diagnoses and determine the most effective treatment for patients suffering from cancer. Employing more than 1,000 people and being present in more than 100 countries, Dako covers essentially all of the anatomic pathology markets globally. Dako is owned by private equity fund EQT. More at

Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute is an independent research organization dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science, and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process. This is accomplished through the work of over 200 researchers in more than 20 on-site laboratories and in collaborative partnerships that span the globe. More at

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