• Pancreatic cancer is the most lethal cancer in humans, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 10%.
  • There are no liquid biopsy assays for the early detection of pancreatic cancer.
  • There is independent evidence that the protein GPC-1 on exosomes is strongly elevated in the blood from pancreatic cancer patients.
  • Sienna will utilise its proprietary EXO-NET™ exosome capture technology to isolate exosomes, and Minomic will use its proprietary anti-GPC-1 antibody in a pilot study to test the feasibility of developing a proprietary pancreatic cancer assay.

Minomic International Ltd has entered into a research collaboration agreement with Sienna Cancer Diagnostics Ltd (ASX: SDX) (“Sienna” or “the Company”), a medical technology company developing and commercialising innovative cancer-related tests, to develop a proprietary test for the early detection of pancreatic cancer.

This will be the first application of Sienna’s capture technology that was acquired in April 2019. The general capture technology is trademarked as SIEN-NET™ and the specific exosome capture technology as EXO-NET™. Sienna will provide EXO-NET beads which rapidly and specifically capture exosomes (nanoparticles shed from cells into the bloodstream) from blood and other body fluids.

Several independent studies have indicated that exosomes from pancreatic cancer patients contain a protein called glypican-1 (GPC-1). Minomic holds a strong intellectual property position around GPC-1 with four families of patents already completing Patent Cooperation Treaty applications. Based on the data, the companies have agreed to enter into a collaboration to conduct research to determine the feasibility of producing an assay for the accurate screening, diagnosis and prognosis of pancreatic cancer.

About pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most lethal cancer in humans, with a five-year survival rate of less than 10%. Cancer Australia estimates that 3,599 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed in Australia in 2019[1]. Notably, due to the asymptomatic nature of early-stage pancreatic cancer and the lack of a non-invasive early-stage diagnostic assay, approximately 80–85% of cases at initial diagnosis present with unresectable advanced or metastatic disease. The median survival time for these patients is only 3–14 months[2].

A biomarker assay that can specifically detect asymptomatic premalignant or early malignant tumours and predict the response to treatment would greatly benefit these patients[3]. Minomic and Sienna aim to deliver such an assay through this collaboration.

“Minomic International Ltd is excited to work with Sienna to develop this opportunity to extend the use of our GPC-1 antibody beyond prostate cancer detection”, said Minomic’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Brad Walsh.

“We are pleased to have entered into this collaboration with Minomic, and we are very hopeful that it will result in the development of a novel and reliable assay for the detection of pancreatic cancer to add to the company’s pipeline of cancer diagnostic tests. It is a perfect first application for our proprietary biomarker capture technology, SIEN-NET™”, said Sienna’s Chief Executive Officer, Carl Stubbings.

The companies will share the costs of the proof of concept stage of the development.


[1] https://pancreatic-cancer.canceraustralia.gov.au/statistics

[2] Lu H, Niu F, Liu F, Gao J, Sun Y, Zhao X. Elevated glypican-1 expression is associated with an unfavorable prognosis in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Cancer Med 2017; 6(6):1181–1191

doi: 10.1002/cam4.1064

[3] Qi Z-H, Xu H-X, Zhang S-R, Xu J-Z, Li S, Gao H-L, Jin W, Wang W-Q, Wu C-T, Ni Q-X, Yu X-J, Liu L.

The significance of liquid biopsy in pancreatic cancer. J Cancer 2018; 9(18): 3417-3426. doi: 10.7150/jca.24591