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Biotech

IMB Dx eyes platform to detect stage 1 cancer with single draw of blood

With the development of more advanced cancer diagnosis platforms, the company aims to go public next year

By Jul 22, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

IMB Dx Inc., a South Korean biotechnology startup
IMB Dx Inc., a South Korean biotechnology startup

IMB Dx Inc., a South Korean biotechnology startup focusing on diagnostic devices, plans to develop a platform that can detect early-stage cancer with just a single blood draw.

“Our goal is to detect stage 1 cancer with just a drop of blood. We aim to develop and commercialize the platform by 2023,” Chief Executive and co-founder Kim Tae-yoo told The Korea Economic Daily on Wednesday.

With 20 milliliters of blood, the platform will be able to identify 106 kinds of gene variations that can cause cancer, he said

IMB Dx is a precision oncology company that develops minimally invasive liquid biopsy tests for safe and affordable cancer diagnosis and monitoring.

The company has already unveiled a series of test devices under the brand of AlphaLiquid designed for early and advanced cancer patients for accurate tumor profiling, therapy selection, recurrence monitoring and early cancer detection.

The biotech firm said its proprietary technology detects and analyzes traces of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) with a minimal amount of blood.

For stage 3 and 4 cancer, ctDNA accounts for about 10% of DNA found in the blood. However, for the very early-stage cancer, less than 0.1% of the tumor DNA exists in the blood, making it even harder to detect any traces of cancer, according to IMB Dx.

IMB Dx CEO and co-founder Kim Tae-yoo
IMB Dx CEO and co-founder Kim Tae-yoo

POSSIBLE IPO IN 2022

“The test offers a non-invasive and safer approach compared to tissue biopsy, and thus can be repeated whenever necessary,” the company said.

It said it has collected some 5,000 cases of cancer-related data through its liquid biopsy tests from major hospitals in Seoul, including Seoul National University (SNU) Hospital, the Catholic University of Korea Seoul St. Mary's Hospital and Gangnam Severance Hospital.

The company said it plans to raise such data to 10,000 cases by year-end.

CEO Kim, who previously was a medical oncology professor at SNU Medical School and director of SNU Cancer Hospital and Center for Precision Medicine, said the new cancer diagnosis and detection platform under development will have much higher efficiency than its existing products.

The company said it is considering listing its shares on the local bourse in the second half of next year.

“We are committed to providing useful information for patients and physicians, and to revolutionize the way cancer is diagnosed, monitored and treated,” he said.

Write to Ju-Hyun Lee at deep@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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