Foundation Medicine, a member of the Roche Group, said today it has completed the acquisition of precision oncology company Lexent Bio for an undisclosed price, in a deal designed to expand the buyer’s multiomics capacities— including the adoption of DNA methylation to evaluate cancer progression in broader patient populations.
The acquisition expands Foundation Medicine’s liquid biopsy platforms by adding Lexent Bio’s development-stage monitoring platform, which is based on low-pass whole genome sequencing (WGS) and DNA methylation analysis.
Foundation Medicine said it plans to further incorporate WGS and methylation into new assay platforms designed to support treatment decision-making across all stages of disease. According to Foundation Medicine, Lexent Bio’s technology complements its existing efforts and partnerships aimed at developing advanced diagnostics for physicians, as well as genomically evaluating disease progression and informing treatment decisions at earlier stages of disease.
The collective capabilities, Foundation Medicine added, will enable the expansion of its current tumor-informed personalized cancer monitoring initiatives into universal tumor-agnostic approaches in the future. Using those expanded capabilities, Foundation Medicine plans to support adaptive clinical trial designs and accelerate therapeutic development in both early and late stage disease.
“Lexent Bio’s platforms align well with our liquid biopsy research and development strategy, which ultimately aims to bring the latest research innovations into routine clinical use in metastatic disease and at potentially earlier stages of patient care,” Foundation Medicine CEO Cindy Perettie said in a statement.
In November, Lexent Bio launched a partnership with Illumina to develop an in vitro diagnostic kit for the monitoring of therapeutic response in patients with specific cancers and for monitoring minimal residual disease. The value of that partnership has not been disclosed.
Two months later, Roche and Illumina announced a collaboration of undisclosed value focused on advancing clinical diagnostics, a 15-year non-exclusive agreement that Illumina said was designed to accelerate the availability of distributable NGS-based in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) tests on Illumina’s diagnostic (Dx) sequencing systems.
Foundation Medicine also cited studies showing methylation analysis to have revealed key aspects of underlying cancer biology, thus enabling oncologists to identify patients at high risk of disease progression, potentially intervene sooner and improve patient outcomes in earlier stages of disease.
In one of the cited studies, a paper published in 2018, Manon van Engeland, PhD, of Maastricht University Medical Center, and colleagues concluded that the genomic location of a DNA methylation-based biomarker played an important and often overlooked role in why only 14 biomarkers have been translated into a commercially available clinical test. The low number was contrasted by van Engeand and colleagues to the more than 14,000 scientific publications that have described DNA methylation-based biomarkers and their clinical associations in cancer.
“We’ve spent years building a platform that, once developed and available, will help guide oncologists to identify patients at higher risk for disease progression, and to make better treatment decisions earlier in patient care,” added Lexent Bio co-founder and CEO Ken Nesmith. “The team is pleased to join Foundation Medicine and work collaboratively to bring these capabilities to physicians and their patients.”