Exosome Diagnostics reveals positive data for lung cancer liquid biopsy test

Exosome Diagnostics CMO Vince O'Neill

Exosome Diagnostics is trotting out promising data for its lung cancer liquid biopsy test, a week after reeling in new funds to support development of its liquid biopsy technology and build out its portfolio.

A new study looked at plasma samples for 24 individuals with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and found that Exosome's ExoDx Lung (ALK) liquid biopsy test showed 88% sensitivity and 100% specificity. The test could also distinguish between certain fusion transcripts that account for the "vast majority" of cases linked to the gene translocation EML4-ALK, the company said in a statement. Exosome presented the findings at the 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Denver.

"We're extremely pleased with these new data and the strong clinical performance of ExoDx Lung (ALK)," Exosome's CMO Vince O'Neill said in a statement. "The ability to detect specific fusion transcripts of the ALK gene represents a critical advance in the detection of this mutation. With the test, we believe we will be able to give physicians the most complete molecular information they need in order to direct patients to the most targeted and appropriate available treatment or clinical trial."

Exosome also unveiled positive findings for its ExoDx solid tumor panel, which uses exosomal RNA (exoRNA) plus cell-free DNA (cfDNA) to screen for EGFR mutations in the blood plasma of patients with NSCLC. The company analyzed 47 blood plasma samples from NSCLC patients and saw that combining exoRNA and cfDNA helped detect more mutations associated with the disease--a potentially salient finding as the company refines its liquid biopsy technology.

Exosome Diagnostics CEO Thomas McLain

The data follow a string of achievements for Exosome, which has been working hard to beef up business since bringing on Thomas McLain as its CEO last summer. With McLain at the helm, the company moved its headquarters from New York to Cambridge, MA. Last month, the company opened a CLIA-certified lab at its new HQ, an "important step" toward centralizing operations and accelerating R&D, McLain said at the time.

Earlier this month, the company raked in $17.6 million in a second round of Series B financing, bringing the total amount raised to $44.7 million. Exosome plans to use the funds to launch its two blood-based lung cancer liquid biopsy tests, a urine-based prostate cancer liquid biopsy and a solid tumor panel. The company also said it would funnel cash toward a projected 2016 launch for its new solid tumor panel and to roll out tests for neurodegenerative diseases.

- read Exosome's statement