JW Holdings said Thursday that the Japan Patent Office has approved its patent regarding its technology for early pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
Pancreatic cancer is a disease that causes about 1,000 fatalities worldwide on average a day. In Korea, more than 5,000 cases occur annually. Early diagnosis is essential for the incurable illness as it has a low survival rate of roughly 7 to 8 percent.
Due to the location of the pancreas and no unusual initial symptoms, early diagnosis of the cancer is challenging, however.
The company had previously signed a technology transfer contract with Yonsei University for a multi-biomarker diagnostic kit that can detect pancreatic cancer during its early stages with a simple blood test. Under the agreement, the company had exclusively acquired the world's first pancreatic cancer diagnostic technology developed by Professor Paik Young-ki of the university’s department of biochemistry.
The technology acquired by JW Holdings is an innovative diagnostic platform that enables detection of the progression of pancreatic cancer by simultaneously using substances expressed during the disease’s early and late stage, the company said. The kit is the first of its kind to test CFB antigens found during the early stages of pancreatic cancer. Until now, most pancreatic cancer diagnoses looked for CA19-9, a cancer-specific antigen that reacts primarily in end-stage patients, it added.
"With the registration of the Japanese patent for early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, the company is well positioned to enter the global high value-added in vitro diagnostic market,” a company official said. “We will continue to strengthen our innovative high-value in vitro diagnostic infrastructure through JW Bioscience.”
According to Frost & Sullivan, a global consulting firm in the U.S., the global in vitro diagnostic market is growing more than 7 percent annually, with a market size of about 69 trillion won ($62.2 billion) last year.