New partnership between Christiana Care’s Gene Editing Institute and NovellusDx speeds progress toward personalized cancer medicine

WILMINGTON, Del.–(BUSINESS WIRE )–Personalized cancer therapies are on the horizon thanks to a new genomic cancer research partnership between the Gene Editing Institute of Christiana Care Health System’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute and the biotechnology company NovellusDx.

The Gene Editing Institute has licensed its innovative gene editing technology to Jerusalem-based NovellusDx to improve the efficiency and speed of NovellusDx’s cancer diagnostic screening tools. With the use of advanced gene editing technology, NovellusDx will be able to identify the genetic mechanism responsible for both the onset and progression of many types of cancer and determine the most effective cancer therapy. NovellusDx will pay royalties to Christiana Care for ten years for the use of its innovative gene editing technology.

“This partnership promises to redefine and transform cancer treatment by speeding progress in breakthrough personalized medicine for many forms of cancer,” said Nicholas J. Petrelli, M.D. , the Bank of America endowed medical director of Christiana Care’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute.

“This work has the potential to change the way cancer treatment is carried out,” said Haim Gil-Ad , CEO of NovellusDx. “Once the genetic makeup of a patient is known, we will be able to immediately test and monitor the effect of a patient’s mutations in live cells and determine the appropriate treatment for that patient.”

Today, genomic sequencing plays an ever-increasing role in cancer treatment, but the functional significance of most mutations found in a patient’s DNA is unknown and so is the effect drugs have on them. NovellusDx will use the gene editing tools to help determine which drug is best for individual patients by recreating the mutations in a test system and then screening a series of known cancer drugs against those mutations to determine their efficacy.

NovellusDx has established a unique approach to identify unknown “driver” gene mutations that accelerate and facilitate cancer progression. NovellusDx receives DNA sequence information and synthesizes the individual patients’ mutated genes and tests them in live cells to define the impact of each mutation on the activity of signaling pathways of the tumor and suggest the most effective therapy to the patient’s physician.

A $900,000 grant from the U.S.-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation in December 2016 facilitated the Gene Editing Institute-NovellusDx partnership. The BIRD Foundation promotes collaboration between U.S. and Israeli companies in a wide range of technological fields for the purpose of joint product development.

About the Gene Editing Institute

The Gene Editing Institute of Christiana Care Health System’s Helen Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute is a worldwide leader in personalized genetic medicine. Founded and led by Eric Kmiec, Ph.D., the Gene Editing Institute is unlocking the genetic mechanisms that drive cancer and that can lead to new therapies and pharmaceuticals to revolutionize cancer treatment, as well as providing instruction in the design and implementation of genetic tools. Gene editing in lung cancer research has already begun so that clinical trials can be initiated. The Gene Editing Institute is integrated into the Molecular Screening Facility at The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, PA, where its innovative gene-editing technologies are available to research projects at Wistar and to external users. Working with Wistar scientists, the Gene Editing Institute has begun research to conduct a clinical trial in melanoma. With funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Gene Editing Institute is partnering with Nemours to develop a gene editing strategy for the treatment of sickle cell anemia and leukemia.

About NovellusDx
NovellusDx’s mission is to provide functional information about mutations and their responses to drugs so that oncologists can treat patients with precision therapies and bio-pharmaceutical companies can develop drugs more effectively. The NovellusDx approach is to monitor the functional effects of mutations and observe the effects of drugs, drug combinations and drug candidates on the activity level caused by the mutations. NovellusDx’s headquarters and research and development operations are based in Jerusalem, Israel.