Sentinel Biomedical Inks Deal with Antech Diagnostics to Distribute Innovative Canine Cancer Tests

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A unique, non-invasive urine test to diagnose cancers in dogs will soon get more “legs” in the marketplace, thanks to a deal struck by its developer, Raleigh-based Sentinel Biomedical.

Sentinel has inked a deal with Fountain Valley, California-based Antech Diagnostics to increase the U.S. distribution and marketing of Sentinel’s innovative canine cancer tests. Antech Diagnostics is part of a large consortium of animal health providers called Mars Petcare

Under the agreement, Antec Diagnostics will market Sentinel’s innovative molecular diagnostic products CADET BRAF and BRAF-PLUS to North American veterinary customers. CADET BRAF and BRAF-PLUS offer a robust, non-invasive approach for veterinarians to detect the most common forms of canine bladder, urethral and prostate cancer.

The companies said the deal will broaden access to these tests, offering more veterinarians the opportunity to work with pet owners for early detection, treatment and monitoring of response to therapy. 

CADET product image
-- Sentinel Biomedical image

CADET BRAF is a DNA-based test that detects the presence of a single mutation present in 85% of confirmed cases of canine transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), also called urothelial carcinoma (UC). Using state-of-the-art molecular technology, the test uses forensic-level sensitivity to analyze free-catch urine in a manner that is less expensive and invasive than alternate methods. 

All dogs may develop these diseases, but a dozen or so pure breed dogs are at higher risk. In general, dogs have an incidence of cancer that is about 10 times higher than humans, with up to six million of the nation’s 85 million dogs diagnosed with cancer every year. 

"CADET BRAF and BRAF-PLUS were developed through robust research and the expertise of leading genetics and oncology experts," said Matthew Breen, Ph.D., North Carolina State University distinguished professor of comparative oncology genetics and president of Sentinel. Breen’s laboratory participated in sequencing the canine genome in 2004 and has maintained a focus on canine cancer research.

In an interview with the Biotech Center, Breen said these “first ever” noninvasive tests are a “game changer,” that can result in early detection of the cancers, potentially leading to improved treatment outcomes. Previously, he explained, clinical signs of bladder cancers are shared with other forms of urinary tract issues that can hinder accurate diagnosis until the diseases have developed into an advanced state. 

“By the time bladder cancer in dogs is diagnosed, the vast majority of dogs are in later-stage disease,” he said. “A critical thing we want to do for people and dogs is offer a way to get to a diagnosis sooner.”

Matthew Breen, Ph.D.
Matthew Breen, Ph.D. -- N.C. State photo

Breen noted that the way dogs and humans develop cancer is “very similar.” That means research for advances in canine cancer diagnosis and treatment could feasibly lead to advances in cancer research in humans too. It’s a field now widely described as translational medicine, or “one health.”

Sentinel and Antech Diagnostics have also formed a joint venture, called Antech Molecular Innovations (AMI), co-located with Sentinel in North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus. 

Founded in 2015, Sentinel operated on revenue from sales of its tests, and licensed the technology from N.C. State. Breen said Sentinel, through its AMI joint venture, is working on developing additional molecular diagnostics for canine cancers.

Antech Diagnostics, Breen said, will provide nationwide distribution of tests developed by AMI, in a “more streamlined manner than any small company can offer, making our innovative products much more accessible to dog owners nationally.”

AMI currently has seven employees, and expects to hire more as a result of this deal.

Allan Maurer, NCBiotech Writer
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