Foundation Medicine shows test's worth as a highly specific blood cancer screening tool

Foundation Medicine ($FMI) is touting some promising new data highlighting the utility of its signature diagnostic technology for blood cancers, news that will help the newly public Massachusetts startup maintain development and commercial momentum.

Chief Medical Officer Vincent Miller said in a statement that the initial data validated the company's use of a comprehensive genomic analysis to decipher a particular patient's tumor in general, and for blood cancers in particular.

"We are now very pleased to report these initial data showing the utility of this approach in hematologic cancers," Miller said. "We believe [the particular assay] will help advance patient care and enable precision medicine for patients with a range of hematologic malignancies."

The 3-year-old Cambridge-based company said its FoundationOne Heme test, a genetic profile for blood cancers, helped researchers detect a slew of genomic mutations not identifiable with existing diagnostics technology, including changes in a wide range of myeloid and lymphoid malignancies, BRAF changes in refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia and myeloma and changes in the JAK-STAT signaling pathway for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Foundation tested the particular assay on cancer specimens from 319 patients, and the company said it successfully extracted DNA and RNA from 96% of specimens. Overall, the company noted its assay successfully evaluated all classes of genomic alterations for what are routine clinical cancer specimens. Details came out at the recent American Society of Hematology annual meeting.

Foundation Medicine, a 2012 FierceBiotech Fierce 15 company, is banking plenty on FoundationOne, a sequencing-based testing platform that can spot mutations for 236 genes to match patients with ideal treatments. Its list of collaborative partners is significant, to say the least: It includes Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), Novartis ($NVS) and Sanofi ($SNY), among others. Foundation Medicine and the test platform's momentum helped propel a public offering in the fall that raised $111 million in net proceeds, including the full exercise of the underwriters' overallotment.

Foundation Medicine booked $8.2 million in revenue for its 2013 third quarter, versus $3 million over the same period a year ago. Net losses reached $12.4 million, up from a more than $5.5 million net loss in the 2012 third quarter, as it ramped up expansion and commercial rollout.

- read the release

Special Report: FierceBiotech's 2012 Fierce 15 - Foundation Medicine

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