Genomic Health launches solid tumor liquid biopsy test

Redwood City, CA-based Genomic Health launched its first liquid biopsy test Tuesday. The blood-based mutation test is intended to help physicians make treatment decisions regarding various stage IV solid cancers.

The test, Oncotype SEQ Liquid Select, uses next-generation sequencing in a panel of 17 genes to identify genomic markers that are included in National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines or are associated with sensitivity or resistance to certain FDA-approved therapies, Genomic Health said in a statement. It can also help match patients to clinical trials specific to their tumor type.

"This blood-based test will provide oncologists with important genomic information reported in a manner that will allow efficient interpretation and identification of potential treatment options," Dr. Phil Febbo, Genomic Health chief medical officer, said in the statement. The test works by analyzing cell-free DNA taken from patients' blood and providing physicians with information about molecular alterations in the DNA.

The noninvasive nature of liquid biopsy not only makes it more comfortable for patients than traditional tissue biopsy, but can also be more cost- and time-efficient. Genomic Health highlighted its utility in lung cancer patients for whom tissue biopsy can be difficult and risky.

While the technology is applicable over a range of solid cancers, including melanoma, breast, ovarian and gastrointestinal stromal tumors, the initial launch is focused on select clinics treating stage IV lung cancer patients. Genomic Health is working on a global, multicenter clinical concordance study to gather evidence to support reimbursement, it said in the statement.

The company plans to roll out a number of liquid biopsy tests beyond the gene expression tests for cancer. "We believe we are well-positioned to lead this new market given our experience developing cancer tests that are optimized for clinical utility and patient access, along with our operational expertise and unmatched commercial channel," Febbo said in a previous statement.

Liquid biopsy has been heating up this month, with the FDA approving the first liquid biopsy test: Roche's ($RHHBY) companion diagnostic for the cancer drug Tarceva. And Guardant Health's liquid biopsy test showing comparable success to tissue biopsy in matching cancer patients to treatments.

- here's the statement

Special Report: Five companies to watch in the liquid biopsy field

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