miR-21 has been implicated as a possible therapeutic target and in several clinically relevant diagnostic applications, including potential improvements in early detection and more informed prognosis of lung cancer.

Human miR-21 acts as a marker for use as a diagnostic for lung cancer as it will be highly expressed in lung cancer compared to normal patients.

Asuragen plans to launch its first miRNA kit, a miR-21 (RUO) kit for the detection of mir-21 expression levels, in the second quarter of this year.

Asuragen CEO and CSO Matt Winkler said they were the first company to launch a clinically validated miRNA-based diagnostic test and now are poised to launch their first miRNA-based detection kit.

"We are beginning to see a steady stream of allowances from our early miRNA patent filings which highlight our early pioneering work in the development of microRNA technologies for health care applications," Winkler said.