Melbourne Company in ANZA Technology Network’s VicStart Program Secures US Licensing Agreement

Sienna Cancer Diagnostics Inks Agreement with Geron Corp. for Patent Access.

Melbourne, Australia, February 02, 2008 --( Sienna Cancer Diagnostics, a Melbourne diagnostic technology firm, has signed a license agreement with Geron Corp. from Menlo Park, California. The agreement will allow Sienna access to critical granted patents and intellectual property related to the detection or measurement of telomerase activity, an enzyme active in most cancer cells. Geron is a leader in biopharmaceutical development for the treatment of cancer and chronic degenerative diseases.

The license agreement is yet another significant deal between an innovative Victorian company and a US entity fostered in conjunction with the Victorian Government’s technology commercialization program, VicStart. The program has engaged the US-based Australian, New Zealand, American (ANZA) Technology Network to mentor companies through its Fast Track program, which assists Australian CEOs and senior level executives in navigating the challenging US business terrain in order to increase sales, form partnerships and raise venture capital.

“The agreement with Geron represents an outstanding opportunity not only for Sienna, but globally for patients, payers and clinicians who seek better, faster methods for the diagnosis and monitoring of cancer,” said Sienna’s CEO Kerry A. Hegarty, PhD, who has been participating in the ANZA Fast Track program since October 2007.

Sienna is developing a non-invasive assay that utilizes its proprietary Telomerase Biosensor Technology (“TBT”) to detect telomerase activity in urine for the diagnosis of bladder cancer. Telomerase has great potential as a cancer biomarker, being present in about 95% of all epithelial cancers. Sienna’s assay could supplement or replace invasive cystoscopy procedures. In the US alone, approximately $700 million are spent annually on cystoscopic procedures to monitor and diagnose the occurrence or recurrence of bladder cancer.

Geron is advancing an anti-cancer drug and a cancer vaccine that target the enzyme telomerase through multiple clinical trials. Under the terms of the license agreement, Sienna gains worldwide exclusive rights within a defined field to Geron-controlled intellectual property to detect telomerase activity for the cancer in vitro diagnostics market. In consideration for the license, Geron received a significant equity interest in Sienna and is entitled to receive royalties on future product sales.

“We are pleased that Sienna Cancer Diagnostics has obtained the patent-access and intellectual property it needs going forward to bring this product quickly and safely to market,” said ANZA CEO Viki Forrest. “The creation of alliances between innovative Australian companies like Sienna and US entities like Geron, who already hold a prominent place in the global marketplace, is what the ANZA Fast Track program is all about.”

Since the inception of ANZA’s Fast Track program in Australia in late 2006, 22 companies have been making inroads into the US marketplace. More than US$10 million in equity funding has been raised and a number of significant partnerships with US entities have been forged.

For more information:
ANZA Technology Network:
Victorian Government, VicStart Technology Commercialisation Initiative:
Sienna Cancer Diagnostics:
Geron Corp.:

ANZA Technology Network is the leading independent organization connecting the Australian, New Zealand and US technology and biotechnology sectors. Through its Gateway and Fast Track to the US programs ANZA has assisted hundreds of Australian and New Zealand companies as they enter the US market — more than any other non-government organization. For more information: This press release was prepared for ANZA Technology Network by KazzaDrask Media. For more information and interviews contact:

Press contact:
Kathy Drasky
KazzaDrask Media for ANZA Technology Network
T: +1 415 606 2085

ANZA Technology Network
Kathy Drasky