San Diego's Epic Sciences is working to expand access to its novel cancer diagnostic, joining forces with global giant LabCorp ($LH) to make the test available to European drug developers.
Under the partnership, Epic gets the use of LabCorp's sample-processing facility in Belgium, allowing the company to provide its circulating tumor cell (CTC) technology to clients running clinical trials in the EU. Epic's test works by isolating, counting and characterizing CTCs in the bloodstream, a method the company says can diagnose cancer subtypes, chart metastatic risk and get patients matched up with their ideal therapies.
Demand for CTC technology has surged since the test's launch, according to Epic, and LabCorp's multinational heft will help the small company satisfy its growing clientele, CEO Murali Prahalad said. To speed up the process for European investigators, LabCorp will process CTC samples at its Belgian outpost before shipping them out for detection and characterization at Epic's La Jolla, CA, lab, giving the company intercontinental scale without the need for costly expansion.
"Working with LabCorp, we have been able to rapidly validate our technology and expand our clinical trial services to Europe for our pharma partners and clinical trial customers," Prahalad said in a statement.
Among those partners are oncology luminaries Genentech, Celgene ($CELG) and Pfizer ($PFE), and the company is in the midst of 27 pharma-sponsored oncology studies around the world, plus collaborations with the likes of the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.
Prahalad joined the company in August after an 8-year stint at Life Technologies ($LIFE), where he served as vice president of corporate strategy, presiding over that company's many acquisitions and growth initiatives.
In 2012, the company hauled in a $13 million Series B with help from Domain Associates, Roche ($RHHBY) Venture Fund, and Pfizer Venture Investments, money it has poured into its R&D operation.
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