Merger designed to help prevent oral cancer, along with other cancers

January 10, 2013

A merger announced on Jan. 8 should help dentists and other clinicians battle oral cancer, as well as other forms of cancer.  Two companies that offer physicians advanced, clinically proven diagnostic systems that can help prevent cancer by detecting pre-cancerous cells just announced their merger.

A merger announced on Jan. 8 should help dentists and other clinicians battle oral cancer, as well as other forms of cancer.  Two companies that offer physicians advanced, clinically proven diagnostic systems that can help prevent cancer by detecting pre-cancerous cells just announced their merger.

Oral Cancer Prevention International Inc. and CDx Laboratories Inc. are joining to form a new entity known as CDx Diagnostics. The merger was facilitated by a new investment in CDx Diagnostics made by Waterbridge Capital, a New York City-based investment firm that targets opportunistic equity investments in a number of areas, including promising companies focused on breakthrough diagnostic health technologies.  

“Our goal in making this investment is to ensure that the newly merged company has access to the financial and human resources that it requires for rapid growth. It is very unusual for any medical device or diagnostic company to have successfully commercialized even one patented, clinically proven, FDA cleared, and reimbursed product independently, without the resources of a larger company,” said Joel Schreiber, CEO of Waterbridge Capital.  

 “We are pleased to be able to consolidate our oral, esophageal, and laryngeal cancer diagnostic assets into one company that can better leverage our investment in the proprietary computer algorithms and systems that we have developed to improve the detection of pre-cancerous cells. We welcome Waterbridge Capital as a board member and look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Mark Rutenberg, Chairman and CEO of CDx Diagnostics.   

Rutenberg added, “This merger streamlines our capital structure and allows us to accelerate our strong pipeline of additional tests for liver, pancreatic, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease caused colon cancer. CDx Diagnostics will now fortify its leadership in developing advanced tools that deliver unparalleled information to doctors so they can rule out or confirm pre-cancer while it is still easily treatable.”

CDx Diagnostics’ business model is based upon the recognition that detecting easily treatable pre-cancerous cells known as “dysplasia” can be the most effective method to prevent cancer.

 The Pap smear, which reduced cervical cancer from the most frequent cause of U.S. female cancer death in the 1950s to the 14th largest by 1990, is an example of how availability of the right tool to detect dysplasia can stop cancer before it can actually start. While pre-cancerous cell detection has made cervical, skin and most colon cancers now largely preventable diseases, the detection of dysplasia in other body sites has been more elusive.

CDx Laboratories was founded in 1997 to develop tools to detect dysplasia in tissues for which no practical and accurate tests were available. Its proprietary diagnostic platform consists of a patented minimally invasive brush biopsy method combined with a powerful computer- assisted laboratory analysis of the cells and tissue fragments obtained by the biopsy brush. Its tests are relatively quick and are covered by insurance.  

In 2007, Oral Cancer Prevention International was founded to use the CDx technology platform to detect pre-cancerous cells in the mouth. Its OralCDx test is currently used by thousands of U.S. physicians and dentists to rule out the chance that a small common-appearing oral spot may contain pre-cancerous cells.

For the last 20 years oral cancer has been rapidly rising in women, young people and non-smokers. OralCDx has already prevented more than 10,000 U.S. oral cancers by detecting advanced pre-cancerous cells in hundreds of thousands of patients with harmless appearing small oral spots.