Martell has obtained rights and soon will bring to market to a second generation serum HER2/neu ELISA test. This technology is licensed from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. These scientists first discovered the HER2/neu biomarker in 1979, thus pioneering the concept of Precision Medicine—drugs that target a specific genetic change in tumors cells act to arrest tumor growth. Our second generation HERTEST will provide a proprietary anchor in what we project to be a large future market.
Our immune system fights off early cancer but begins to fail as the cancer spreads. This is reflected in rising serum levels of the protein PD-L1. Martell will introduce a serum PD-L1 ELISA to measure tumor immunity. Drugs to block PD-L1 and stimulate tumor immunity are in advanced clinical trials but no blood test has reached the market. This test impacts all types of breast cancer and other cancers.
We envision providing our reference lab tests for hospital labs and doctors’ offices. It takes 10-14 days to receive most serum biomarker test reports. This could be reduced to one hour by using a novel microfluidic, cartridge-based test system. Thus, providing real-time data for assisting in therapy decisions. Our first system, developed in collaboration with an equipment manufacturer, uses their machine and custom cartridges with Martell detection chemistry. We will soon design cartridges to simultaneous measure several blood proteins—this is called multiplex—multiplexed microfluidics is the diagnostic methodology of the future.
Martell Diagnostic Laboratories, Inc. was formed to solve several very major deficiencies in the management of breast cancer and advance exciting new technologies and solutions. Our first “product” is a blood test to monitor the course and treatment of HER2 breast cancer, the most aggressive form responsible for the majority of deaths. We recently began promoting HERTEST, a branded version of the sHER2/neu ELISA test. Our commercial business model revolves around establishing a Minnesota-based national reference laboratory. In addition, we have initiated a product development program to improve HERTEST and introduce related serum diagnostics. We are exploring ways to take these tests to the doctor’s office. We plan to advance a drug lead that is designed to reverse the common problem of HER2 drug resistance.