San Antonio biotech company secures Chinese patent for cancer-detection test

DECEMBER 16, 2015

As published in the San Antonio Business Journal
By W. Scott Bailey

The People’s Republic of China has awarded a Certificate of Invention Patent to bioAffinity Technologies for its proprietary CyPath® assay, which could have a profound impact on cancer detection globally.

The San Antonio-based biotech company’s latest accomplishment could especially affect China, which has more lung cancer diagnoses and deaths annually from the disease than any other country in the world, according to bioAffinity President and CEO Maria Zannes.

“We have begun our Series A round of fundraising, so it was a great opportunity to talk directly with potential investors,” Zannes told me.

The Chicago symposium also provided an opportunity for BioAffinity to showcase its collaborative work with the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, which is ramping up efforts to commercialize more of its own research.

“Investors also were interested in the UTSA Commercialization program that is supporting BioAffinity Technologies by offering collaboration with its researchers and use of laboratory space,” Zannes said, adding, “The Chicago event most certainly will help with fundraising by getting key people talking.”

CyPath® is a bio-label that preferentially binds to cancer cells and labels them a brilliant crimson red so that they can be detected and measured by fluorescent imaging. The new patent grants protection in China until 2030. And while bioAffinity must clear a number of other hurdles before commercializing its technology in that nation, this is a major step for the company in its continued evolution.

“Although commercialization could take many years, patent coverage is a very important asset to strategic investors familiar with the market and able to take advantage of the potential,” Zannes said.

Roughly 600,000 people in China die from lung cancer each year — nearly four times the death rate from the disease in the U.S., according to Zannes. She said the number of deaths in China is only expected to rise because of environmental exposures and other factors in that country, including a growing number of smokers.

The CyPath® technology is non-invasive and could help medical experts in China better detect lung cancer at an earlier stage, allowing for more effective treatment and potentially better health outcomes.

However, Zannes said bioAffinity must secure FDA clearance for its CyPath® technology before filing for similar regulatory approval in China. Clinical trials would also need to be conducted in China before bioAffinity could commercialize the technology in that country.

To date, bioAffinity has secured 41 patents in 21 countries and has an additional half-dozen patents pending.

“The new patent in China expands a very strong international patent portfolio protecting bioAffinity’s proprietary technology for the diagnosis of cancer,” Zannes said. “Its importance cannot be understated in the marketplace, where strategic partnerships require global reach.”

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