CareFirst, Myriad Genetics ally to trial rheumatoid arthritis test

Ruhman joins NewcrestImage with more than 20 years of hospitality experience in senior management positions.
About 40 rheumatologists in CareFirst's network will test Myriad Genetics' diagnostic.

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has teamed up with Myriad Genetics to evaluate a multibiomarker rheumatoid arthritis blood test. The 18-month study will assess whether Vectra DA delivers better outcomes and lower costs than conventional approaches.

Not-for-profit healthcare firm CareFirst is tasking about 40 rheumatologists in its network with testing the device. The hope is that Vectra DA will improve health and economic outcomes by predicting who is at risk of radiographic progression and, in doing so, enable the rheumatologists to optimize treatment decisions.

Vectra DA provides doctors with a single score based on the concentrations of 12 serum proteins. CareFirst thinks this may provide a more objective way of assessing the disease.


Like this story? Subscribe to FierceBiotech!

Biopharma is a fast-growing world where big ideas come along every day. Our subscribers rely on FierceBiotech as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data in the world of biotech and pharma R&D. Sign up today to get biotech news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

“Historically, disease activity measures were subjective or not reproducible and as a consequence inconsistently used to guide treatment decisions for RA patients,” CareFirst VP Daniel Winn, M.D., said in a statement. “Given the emerging evidence for Vectra DA, we are excited to work with Myriad and evaluate the benefits of the Vectra DA test for our physicians and members.”

Myriad has already generated clinical data to support the use of its test. The new study will allow CareFirst to evaluate the test in real-world settings within its network—giving some of its members early access to the diagnostic—before deciding whether the data support wider reimbursement and use of Vectra DA. 

RELATED: Exosome Diagnostics, CareFirst partner to speed up coverage for diagnostic tests   

News of the alliance comes months after CareFirst signed a similar pact with Exosome Diagnostics, the first under its HealthWorx program. CareFirst designed the scheme to cut the time it takes for diagnostics to clear the assessment and coverage determination process. While large companies can ride out this gap, the delay in gaining health insurer coverage puts a strain on small developers of diagnostics. 

Exosome and Myriad’s interest in the program suggests CareFirst has convinced some companies it can help address this long-standing pain point. In the case of Myriad, the longer-term consequences of the agreement will start to become clearer when the 18-month trial is complete.

Suggested Articles

Janssen is planning its first completely virtual clinical trial, using personal smartphones and wearable devices with no in-person site visits.

Sensyne Health aims to bring its AI tools to America, and it’s enlisting IT giant Cognizant and data infrastructure specialist Agorai to help.

Daré Bioscience added a microchip-based implant to its pipeline and reported data from a pre-pivotal study of a hormone-free contraceptive ring.