MirXes, a Singapore-based RNA testing firm, said on Thursday it has signed a memorandum of understanding with several Singapore universities and hospitals to launch a study of circulating microRNA and DNA methylation biomarkers for multi-cancer early detection.
Under Project CADENCE (cancer detected early can be cured), the partners plan to discover and validate methylation biomarkers to develop a blood-based test for up to nine cancer types, including lung, breast, colorectal, liver, and pancreatic cancer.
MirXes is joined by the National Cancer Center Singapore, Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU Singapore), National University Hospital, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore Translational Cancer Consortium, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, and the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at National University of Singapore (NUS Medicine).
In a statement, MirXes said it will invest approximately S$50 million ($35.7 million) in the study over three years. The university and hospital partners will provide in-kind contributions of undeclared value. Under the MOU, the partners will share IP rights, and any resulting testing kits will be developed, manufactured, and commercialized by MirXes .
“Project CADENCE combines the efforts of cancer experts from all three healthcare clusters in Singapore with MirXes’ cutting edge nucleic acid technology in a national effort to address an unmet need,” Yeoh Khay Guan, principal investigator for the project and a professor at NUS Medicine, said in a statement. “Success in this venture would produce a game changer and a major breakthrough, a first of its kind blood test that can accurately detect early cancers and save many lives.”
Founded in 2014, MirXes has commercialized a reverse-transcription quantitative PCR-based platform for RNA detection. In 2019, the firm collaborated with Singapore’s A*STAR to develop and launch GastroClear, a microRNA-based test for the early detection of gastric cancer. The firm raised $77 million in Series C financing last year.
For their new project, the partners plan to recruit more than 12,000 subjects, including healthy average-risk individuals, high-risk individuals, patients with benign tumors, and newly diagnosed cancer patients. They also have plans for a second phase, involving a longitudinal study of a cohort of more than 100,000 people.