A New Collaboration Could Be Key in the Early Detection of Lung Cancer

Biodesix and MRM are the latest diagnostic firms to enter into a partnership geared at the early detection of lung cancer.

A newly-formed partnership between Biodesix and MRM Proteomics could be the key that unlocks the door for better outcomes in lung cancer patients. Earlier this week, the two diagnostic companies announced a deal that would have Montreal-based MRM Proteomics granting Biodesix the rights to use the iMALDI technologies.

Boulder, CO-based Biodesix would use iMALDI to further advance its blood-based lung cancer diagnostics.

“MRM has long been a leader in developing new tools in proteomics,” David Brunel CEO of Biodesix, told MD+DI. “A partnership with [MRM] allows us to expand the set of tools we use to probe the biology and answer the complex questions.”

MRM has existing assays that Biodesix will incorporate into its laboratories in a CLIA setting. That should happen in the next half year. An FDA-approved product would probably be available two-to-four years out – depending on regulatory and reimbursement requirements.

“Examining a patient’s genomic data has advanced targeted therapies. However, 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 release. “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.”

Both companies said the ability to diagnose cancer at an early stage can improve overall survival rates; the ability to rule out cancer for those at risk can reduce patient anxiety and unnecessary procedures.

“There are [millions of] patients a year that have a suspicious nodule,” Brunel said. “Many of them don’t have cancer, but many of them go through unnecessary procedures in the process determining if they have cancer or not. So, there’s a real unmet need of clarifying with a blood test, who has cancer and doesn’t.”

Companies Step Up to Fill the Void

The unmet need of early lung cancer detection has resulted in acquisitions and collaborations between several of the larger players in medtech. Biodesix boosted its lung cancer detection offerings when it acquired Integrated Diagnostics for an undisclosed sum in July of 2018. Through the acquisition Biodesix was able to obtain the XL2 test – an assay that offers a noninvasive means of ruling out cancer for patients with suspicious lung nodules.

On the collaborations front, South San Francisco, CA-based Veracyte and Johnson & Johnson began a long-term agreement to combine clinical study cohorts involving more than 5,000 patients with multiple years of clinical outcome data, in the hopes of developing stronger lung cancer diagnostic tests. The companies made the announcement earlier this month.

In February of 2018, two titans of the industry, Medtronic and Philips entered into a business agreement to develop and commercialize the LungGPS Patient Management Platform.

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