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Genetic research. Computer artwork showing a DNA microarray and Leonardo da Vinci's vitruvian man.

Theradiag and two collaboration partners from South Korea have won partial financial support from the Eurostars-2 program, for their effort to develop two rectal cancer diagnostic tests based on circulating microRNA biomarkers and tissue messenger RNA (mRNA).

The two tests would be combined into a single solution designed to enable better evaluation of response to preoperative chemoradiotherapy treatment. The solution would be designed to improve decisions on the best therapeutic choice for patients, thus increasing their chances of entering remission, Theradiag said.

The two-year, €2.2 (nearly $2.4 million) million effort, dubbed the PIONEER project, will include validation of specific new markers via the recruitment of a cohort of more than 300 patients.

PIONEER combines Theradiag’s Prestizia molecular biology platform with research from molecular diagnostics developer CbsBioscience and a team led by Chang-sik Yu, M.D., Ph.D., at Asan Medical Center, South Korea’s largest academic hospital.

PIONEER will receive €1.3 million ($1.4 million) of its funding from Eurostars-2—of which approximately €300,000 (about $321,000) will go to Theradiag, the company said yesterday.

“The PIONEER project was ranked 20th out of the 331 projects examined, which illustrates its technological quality and its substantial scientific and commercial appeal. It represents another milestone in our development in the field of rectal cancer,” Theradiag CEO Michel Finance said in a statement. “It will help strengthen the work already accomplished in this area, and will potentially open up new international markets to us.”

Eurostars is jointly funded by participating states and partner countries in the Eureka pan-European R&D organization, as well as by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program, designed to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that carry out R&D and are involved in European or partner-country collaborative projects.

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