Next-generation sequencing based cancer diagnostics company Personal Genome Diagnostics (PGDx) announced a partnership agreement with pharmaceutical company Eisai Co., to develop a liquid biopsy test to be used by researchers at Eisai’s Tsukuba Research Laboratory.
Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will look to develop a kitted NGS solution for the identification of biomarkers using blood samples collected from patients enrolled in clinical trials. By leveraging blood-based testing that can make iterative testing more feasible than tissue-based tumor testing, the partners hope to develop insights into the molecular evolution of cancer throughout a patient’s course of treatment.
“We are always striving to evolve and expand our liquid biopsy capabilities and believe that many innovations and insights will be discovered by interrogating blood samples using the new solution we are developing with Eisai,” said John Simmons, Ph.D., vice president of translational medicine at PGDx, in a press release. “Our goal is to create the tools that will provide critical oncology insights that researchers and biopharma companies need to speed the process for developing new therapies for cancer patients.”
The testing will leverage PGDx’s existing capabilities to isolate DNA from patient blood samples, combined with an automated NGS solution to detect somatic alterations across more than 500 genes in cancer and drug-resistance related pathways. The assay will report on a number of different biomarkers of cancer including single nucleotide variants (SNVs), insertion/deletions, copy number alterations, rearrangements, and genomic signatures, including microsatellite instability (MSI) and tumor mutation burden (TMB). The liquid biopsy solution will be especially vital in clinical trials where tissue is not available to allow evaluation of drug response dynamics as well as drug resistance mechanisms.
“Partnering with PGDx to develop this solution is part of our Data Driven Drug Discovery & Development (5D drug discovery) initiative to accelerate drug discovery,” said Dr. Takashi Owa, VP, chief medicine creation and chief discovery officer, oncology business group at Eisai, noted in a prepared statement. “Utilizing digital technology, our history in drug development and PGDx’s liquid biopsy expertise, we expect this new solution will help address the complexities of developing new oncology drugs.”
The companies also announced that they will open the collaboration to other researchers from around the world to use the liquid biopsy developed in their work. According to a press release, the partners have “a shared goal and vision…that this solution will be utilized in clinical trials, as well as become a future standard option in clinical practice.”