NantHealth scores reimbursement for cancer testing service

NantHealth ($NH) got reimbursement to use its cancer test in clinical trials at some New Jersey-area health centers. The news is a feather in the cap of Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who is priming his precision medicine venture for growth.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, New Jersey’s largest health insurance plan, will cover NantHealth’s GPS Cancer molecular test for investigational cancer studies for certain types of lung, breast and colon cancers. The hope is that the test could improve treatment while cutting costs.

Health systems ordering the company’s service include Cancer Institute of New Jersey, John Theurer Cancer Center and the University of Pennsylvania, NantHealth said in a statement.

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The reimbursement marks a win for NantHealth, which is looking to expand its cancer profile analysis service. GPS Cancer uses whole-genome (DNA) sequencing, RNA sequencing and quantitative proteomics to give doctors a molecular profile of a patient’s cancer and potentially guide treatment.

NantHealth’s testing service already contributes to Cancer MoonShot 2020, a multipronged initiative from pharma, government and scientists to develop a cure-all cancer vaccine.

Reimbursement for GPS Cancer comes a few months after the company raised $91 million through an IPO. Existing investors including Soon-Shiong and Celgene ($CELG) bought $43 million of the stock, giving the company more fuel for the year ahead.

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