Biodesix, MRM Proteomics Partner on Blood-Based Lung Cancer Diagnostics

January 28, 2019
Biodesix, MRM Proteomics Partner on Blood-Based Lung Cancer Diagnostics
Biodesix plans to develop new blood-based lung cancer assays using MRM Proteomics’ proprietary iMALDI technologies, the companies said, through a precision oncology collaboration whose value was not disclosed. [© Jess Yu/Fotolia]

Alex Philippidis

Biodesix plans to develop new blood-based lung cancer assays using MRM Proteomics’ proprietary iMALDI technologies, the companies said, through a precision oncology collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

The partnership is intended to both expand Biodesix’ potential menu of proteomics technologies to be deployed, as well as expand its eventual menu of assays, Biodesix CEO David Brunel told Clinical OMICs.

“Essentially, we see the partnership with MRM Proteomics as critical to expanding Biodesix’ applications in the proteomics space,” Brunel said. “The relationship between our companies is a cornerstone to a consortia of technologies we are assembling to address the multiplicity of unmet clinical needs that could be addressed by a new generation of diagnostic tests.”

“MRM has been a long-time leader in proteomics and they have developed both methods and specific panels. We will use these methods in our extensive discovery efforts for our own partners and our own products focused in lung cancer, Brunel added.

Biodesix’ test menu includes the GeneStrat® genomic test, designed to measure actionable mutations for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); and VeriStrat®, a proteomic test for lung cancer that is designed to provide objective prognostic information independent of treatment choice, including immunotherapy.

Both tests are part of the Biodesix Lung Reflex test kit, designed to support treatment decisions with results in 72 hours. A study last year showed VeriStrat’s prognostic value for NSCLC patients

Also included is BDX-XL2, a blood-based assay designed to identify low-to-moderate risk patients with a likely benign lung nodule by integrating plasma proteins with clinical risk factors associated with lung cancer. Biodesix acquifred BDX-XL2 when it bought Integrated Diagnostics last year for an undisclosed price.

Biodesix aims to focus on all aspects of continuum of care in lung cancer, Brunel said, from pre-cancerous to recurrence.

“There are many critical questions in lung cancer across the continuum of care and we aspire to bring the broadest menu of tools for probing genomic and proteomic expression in order to provide the most robust and comprehensive set of answers to those questions,” Brunel said. “It’s not just about discovering unique clinical insights, it’s also about ensuring that they get into the clinic in a manner that fits clinical realities of cost, patient ease, turn around, and timeliness.”

MRM’s iMALDI tech platform is designed to enable rapid, robust, highly automated protein quantitation in complex samples.

The iMALDI approach entails spiking protein digest from a biological sample with a stable isotope-labeled standard peptide matching the target, after which the endogenous peptides and stable isotope standard (SIS) peptides are co-captured on antibodies conjugated to magnetic beads. The peptides eluted from the antibodies are then analyzed with MALDI-MS mass spectrometry.

“Proteins are the targets of most drugs and hold the key to unlocking the promise of precision medicine,” Christoph Borchers, CSO for MRM Proteomics, said in a statement. “Biodesix is a natural partner for our proteomic technology, because they are committed to a multi-omics approach to reveal a more complete molecular profile of lung cancer in the body. We believe that this partnership will produce much-needed advances in the proteomic space and lead to more precise lung cancer diagnostic tools that can help guide treatment decisions.”

Founded in 2010, MRM is a CEO and research partner offering its biopharma clients precision proteomics technologies that include products, services, and clinical diagnostic development. MRM also offers PeptiQuant™ Plus and MetaboloMetrics™ kits for mass spectrometry-based quantitation of proteins and metabolites.

MRM Proteomics’ multiplexed approach toward providing quantitative answers to questions about the complexity of lung disease attracted Biodesix toward pursuing a partnership, Brunel said.

“We are discovering that when you combine different modalities, such as proteomics and genomics, that you are simply better able to answer clinical questions,” Brunel said. “Biology is complex.  Every gene or protein that is relevant to normal biological functioning is also present and likely relevant in disease.  And the interactions and expression change in the course of a day and for different reasons. 

“It seems self-evident to us that the days of a single marker are over—and not just a single marker but a single modality,” Brunel added. “Different methods are appropriate for discovery efforts than those that are focused on clinical practicality.  You need both and this relationship, one of a number we are exploring, provides us this breadth of ability to discover and deliver to the clinic.