Institut Curie has assigned exclusive rights to FGFR3 gene mutations for use in detecting bladder cancer to Abbott Molecular, allowing the company to expand its market presence in molecular diagnostics and bladder cancer.

“We are pleased to partner with Abbott given their deep expertise in molecular and companion diagnostics,” says Damien Salauze, vice president of business development and licensing at Institut Curie. “Our agreement helps Institut Curie optimize the clinical utility of FGFR3, and we are looking forward to combining our strengths with Abbott to create a diagnostic to help improve care for bladder cancer patients.”

Activating FGFR3 gene mutations are seen in about 70% of low-grade and 15 to 20% of high-grade bladder cancer cases, making them useful biomarkers to assist in early detection. About 75,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year, but many patients in stages 0 to 2 can be treated successfully with surgery and chemotherapy. Currently, 9 in 10 patients with stage 1 bladder cancer live 5 years or longer.

“FGFR3 mutations have a broad clinical utility—including early detection, disease monitoring, and predicting patient outcomes—which offers an opportunity for doctors to help improve bladder cancer patient outcomes and quality of life,” says Michael Cookson, MD, chairman of the department of urology at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and a member of the scientific advisory board for the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network.

Abbott currently offers the only FDA-approved urine-based molecular test for bladder cancer, UroVysion, which is included in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and European Association of Urology guidelines.

The FGFR3 mutation analysis assay will be available in early 2015. Abbott is also in the process of developing reagents for further studies, and is exploring collaborations with pharmaceutical companies to leverage the FGFR3 test as a companion diagnostic for emerging bladder cancer therapies.

For more information, visit Abbott Molecular.