Michel Finance

Theradiag, a French company specializing in theranostics and in vitro diagnostics, has launched the second phase of its miCRA project, a study to identify microRNA biomarkers capable of predicting response to treatment and metastatic relapse in rectal cancer. During the new phase, biological validation will be carried out on a broader range of patients, in partnership with the Regional Cancer Institute of Montpellier (ICM).

The miCRA project was one of 110 projects to receive a start-up award from the French government’s Worldwide Innovation Challenge, an initiative based on seven goals to stimulate innovation in France, as defined by the Innovation 2030 Commission chaired by Anne Lauvergeon, former CEO of the French nuclear power company, Areva. The initiative receives financing from BpiFrance, the French public investment bank.

The aim of the miCRA project is to develop a simple, reliable, fast, and noninvasive theranostic solution based on a microRNA signature in patients. The test will allow early prediction of patient response prior to any chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and anticipation of metastatic recurrences in rectal cancer.

The first phase of the miCRA project began at the end of 2013 with screening of potential microRNA candidates, followed by technical validation on an initial cohort of 70. A biostatistical analysis of data from the first phase of the study helped to identify modulated and specific microRNA candidates that predict response to chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments and metastatic recurrence in rectal cancer.

The second phase of the study will aim to validate the biological relevance of the identified microRNA candidates across a broader range of patients, in order to establish a robust signature that could be routinely used in a new theranostic test.

The second phase is also being carried out in partnership with ICM, which is recognized as one of France’s leading centers for cancer patient care and research. ICM is one of 18 cancer centers of the Unicancer group, the nation’s first hospital group fully dedicated to oncology, with more than 900 employees, including 105 doctors, 11 research teams, and 140 researchers.

Based in Marne-la-Vallée, near Paris, Theradiag innovates and develops theranostic tests that measure the efficiency of biotherapies in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, cancer, and AIDS. Theradiag notably markets the CE-marked Lisa-Tracker range, which is a comprehensive multiparameter theranostic solution for patients with autoimmune diseases treated with biotherapies. With its subsidiary Prestizia, Theradiag is developing new biomarkers based on microRNAs for the diagnosis and monitoring of HIV/AIDS and rectal cancer.

“Thanks to our partnership with the Cancer Institute of Montpellier (ICM) and to our platform specializing in development applied to microRNAs, we are able to position ourselves on the very large oncology market, on top of our presence on the autoimmune disease market,” says Michel Finance, CEO of Theradiag. “For the rectal cancer segment, a theranostic kit’s potential world market is estimated at several tens of millions of euros.”

For further information, visit Theradiag.