Biocept joins up with Insight Genetics for lung cancer test

San Diego-based oncology diagnostics outfit Biocept ($BIOC) is teaming up with Insight Genetics of Nashville to develop an improved diagnostic for the most common type of lung cancer.

The two companies say they are looking to generate a test that can detect the expression and mutation of ALK, a major therapeutic target in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The collaboration seeks to identify and monitor patients who may benefit from ALK-based therapies already on the market as well as patients that may benefit from second-generation therapies.

Biocept and Insight Genetics said they will evaluate the combination of both companies' technologies to enhance detection of ALK status in NSCLC patients. Biocept's technology will be used to capture and analyze cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Insight Genetics will then use its evaluation methods to determine ALK expression and whether the gene has mutated over the course of cancer treatment.


Insight Genetics' Dr. Stephan Morris

"As the field of ALK-based therapies continues to grow with second- and third-generation molecules, the concept of looking at both DNA and RNA from CTCs is a diagnostic approach Insight has been interested in exploring for some time," said Dr. Stephan Morris, scientific founder and chief scientific officer of Insight Genetics.

After going public with a modest $19 million IPO at the beginning of 2014, Biocept has been aggressive about increasing commercialization for its existing tests and forging new partnerships. Last year the company secured a foothold in the Chinese market for its microfluidic channel technology, which is key to capturing circulating tumor cells for diagnosis, and partnered with Rosetta Genomics ($ROSG) to advance molecular diagnostics.

Since the late 2014 launch of Biocept's lung cancer assay OncoCEE-LU, the company said it is continuing to focus on building its lung franchise and expanding its offering to both biopharmaceutical collaborators and clinicians.

- get the press release

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