Scottsdale diagnostics company licenses biomarker technologies developed at ASU Biodesign with support from AzTE

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona, October 25, 2013 – Provista Diagnostics, Inc., a leading molecular diagnostics company focused on developing and commercializing proprietary diagnostic, prognostic and predictive tests for cancers affecting women, has licensed a series of biomarker technologies developed by researchers at the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University. Provista will evaluate the technologies for use in the early detection of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and HPV.


Joshua LaBaer, M.D., Ph.D. Director, Biodesign Institute’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics; Chair, Directorate for the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University; Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine; Professor, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry Joshua LaBaer is one of the nation’s foremost investigators in the rapidly expanding field of personalized medicine. His efforts involve the discovery and validation of biomarkers — unique molecular fingerprints of disease — which can provide early warning for those at risk of major illnesses, including cancer and diabetes. The Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics (VGPCPD) has a highly multidisciplinary staff of molecular biologists, cell biologists, biochemists, software engineers, database specialists, bioinformaticists, biostatisticians, and automation engineers with individuals ranging from Ph.D. and M.D. degrees to graduate students to technical support individuals. An organizing principle of VGPCPD is the application of open reading frame clones to the high throughput (HT) study of protein function.

Biomarkers are substances within the body that indicate the presence of a disease before the individual shows other symptoms. Researchers in the Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics at the Biodesign Institute at ASU are working to identify and test new biomarkers for a wide range of conditions based on individual patient profiles. The technologies licensed by Provista were primarily developed in the labs of professors Joshua LaBaer and Karen Anderson.

“Provista is working to develop oncology-related diagnostics in areas of significant unmet need,” said Dr. David E. Reese, Provista’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are very familiar with the excellent research being done at ASU in this area, as both Drs. LaBaer and Anderson are members of our Scientific Advisory Board. We look forward to testing these technologies together with our own proprietary assays to determine both clinical and market viability.”

Early detection of cancer significantly improves treatment outcomes and survivability. When ovarian cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the five-year survival rate is about 94 percent. However, less than one in five cases is detected in an early stage, because symptoms are typically minimal and invasive surgery is required for diagnosis. To date, no screening biomarkers are recommended for the general population in detecting ovarian cancer.
Breast cancer remains a common and devastating health problem, despite recent advances in early detection and treatment. The disease will strike almost one in eight U.S. women over her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.
“With the advent of molecularly-targeted therapeutics, biomarkers that are associated with biological subtypes of cancer may be useful for predicting responses to therapeutic interventions,” said Joshua LaBaer, director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics at the Biodesign Institute at ASU. “If we can significantly advance the early detection of these cancers, we can save thousands of lives each year.”
The Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics – the latest addition to the Biodesign Institute – was established with an eye toward overcoming the health care challenges posed by disease variance. The Center is developing new diagnostic tools to pinpoint the molecular manifestations of disease based on individual patient profiles. The strategy promises not only to improve therapeutic care, but also to greatly reduce treatment costs by allowing for early disease detection.
The licensing agreement was brokered by Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE), ASU’s technology transfer organization. ASU, through the activities of AzTE, is annually one of the top-performing U.S. universities in terms of intellectual property inputs (inventions disclosed by ASU researchers) and outputs (licensing deals and start-ups) relative to the size of the university’s research enterprise. Start-up companies that have licensed ASU IP have attracted almost $400 million in financing from venture capital firms and other investors.
About Arizona Technology Enterprises
Established in 2003, Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Arizona State University Foundation for A New American University. Over the last ten years Arizona Technology Enterprises has supported the development of 67 ASU spinout companies. Comprising industry and university veterans, AzTE brings together ASU’s researchers and industry partners to transform discoveries into marketable products and services, taking innovation out of the lab and into the commercial marketplace. For more information, visit:
About Provista
Provista Diagnostics, Inc. is a privately held molecular diagnostics company focused on developing and commercializing through its dtectDx platform, proprietary diagnostic, prognostic and predictive tests for cancers affecting women, including breast, endometrial and ovarian. Provista also offers diagnostic testing and clinical laboratory services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries through Provista Diagnostics Reference Laboratory (PDxRL), a CLIA-accredited and GLP capable laboratory, licensed in 49 states to perform human clinical testing. More information about Provista is available at


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