Contextual Genomics and the Personalized Medicine Initiative Receive Funding from AstraZeneca for National Access Project for Cancer Testing

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO and VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – February 5, 2015 - Contextual Genomics, a molecular diagnostics company developing genomic based cancer tests, and the Personalized Medicine Initiative (PMI), an organization bringing molecular-based medicine to Canadians are pleased to welcome AstraZeneca to its National Access Project consortium. The project’s aim is to make genomic cancer testing available to any Canadian diagnosed with cancer to improve precision in cancer diagnosis, enable tailored treatment options and, ultimately, support better health outcomes. AstraZeneca has provided a grant and technical advice as part of its commitment to the National Access Project for Cancer Testing.

“We are very pleased to receive the support of AstraZeneca to our National Access Project for Cancer Testing, which is a major step forward toward personalized cancer care,” said Contextual Genomics’ President and CEO, Chris Wagner. “Understanding a patient’s tumour profile will help to support an individualized treatment approach in which medication will be selected based on the genes contributing to the cancer. This will give patients access to the most effective treatment option and reduce a trial and error treatment approach.”

“As a company committed to driving life-changing advances in cancer therapy, we are proud to support the important work of the National Access Project for Cancer Testing,” said Dr. Neil Maresky, Vice President, Scientific Affairs at AstraZeneca Canada. “Each day, more than 500 Canadians are diagnosed with cancer.1 Helping these patients gain access to accurate and timely molecular-based diagnostic testing is an urgent priority, so they can begin the right treatment plan, quickly.”

The National Access Project for Cancer Testing, managed by the Personalized Medicine Initiative with testing provided by Contextual Genomics, launches this month. The program provides a 90-mutation cancer genomics test for 2,000 cancer patients free of charge in ten centres across Canada. Each identified mutation is actionable with current medications or Phase 3 investigational treatments. As part of the program, real-time reports will be made available enabling patients and oncologists to make informed treatment decisions early. Additional life science companies are expected to join the National Access Project consortium.

About Contextual Genomics: 
Contextual Genomics privately-held company developing a novel suite of genomics-based cancer tests to identify a patient’s tumour profile. This precision in cancer diagnosis allows healthcare professionals to more accurately determine the most effective treatment options for the patient. The company’s first products are actionable molecular tests that guide diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Led by global leaders in molecular diagnostics, genomics and bioinformatics who have unparalleled expertise in genomic assay development, Contextual Genomics aims to bring patients a gold standard in molecular diagnostics that will lead to advanced services in personalized cancer care.

About Personalized Medicine Initiative: 
The PMI is an inclusive organization representing stakeholders in BC and Canada that has the objective of bringing personalized, molecularly-based medicine to Canadians with the aim of improving healthcare outcomes and efficiency as well as enabling more effective preventive health delivery. The PMI is based at the Life Sciences Institute at UBC; Canada’s leading Life Sciences Institute.

About AstraZeneca: 
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. AstraZeneca’s Canadian headquarters are located in Mississauga, Ontario. For more information, please visit the company’s website


Contextual Genomics
Chris Wagner
President and CEO

Personalized Medicine Initiative
Rob Fraser, PhD
COO, Personalized Medicine Initiative
Associate Director, Life Sciences Institute

AstraZeneca Canada Inc.
Carlo Mastrangelo
Director, Corporate Communications

This release contains forward-looking statements that are not based on historical fact. These forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, events or developments to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.

1 Canadian Cancer Society website. Accessed Jan. 23, 2015.