Biocept ($BIOC) has not wasted any time developing its liquid biopsy technology since launching a small IPO in early 2014. The company raised $19 million to fuel commercialization of its OncoCEE-BR breast cancer test, a diagnostic tool that captures and analyzes circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) from a blood sample to evaluate a patient's cancer, treatment options and prognosis. In March, Biocept launched a diagnostic for non-small cell lung cancer that identifies EGFR mutations to help doctors find suitable treatments for patients.
|Biocept CEO Michael Nall|
Now the company has its eye on expansion, planning to roll out similar tests for colorectal cancer and melanomas in the year to come, CEO Michael Nall told FierceDiagnostics. Ultimately, Biocept would like to have diagnostics that cover all the biomarkers used in the NCCN clinical practice guidelines, screening patients for cancer when tissue is not available.
But the company also sees an opportunity to use its products to monitor patients in remission, Raaj Trivedi, vice president of commercial operations, told FierceDiagnostics. As clinicians start to realize that liquid biopsy tests are not just a surrogate way to test when you don't have tissue, the technology can be used to help physicians after treatment.
"It's not just medical oncologists who will benefit from the information, but the surgeons and radiation oncologists," Trivedi said. "They need this information for other decisions."
Looking ahead, companies will begin to harness the technology to look for early signs of recurrence and monitor the effectiveness of therapy, Trivedi said. Unlike other diagnostics outfits that use either ctDNA or CTCs to evaluate samples, Biocept integrates both methods to provide comprehensive screening. And in the future, this approach could gain ground as pharma looks for specific biomarkers that help pair patients with an appropriate therapy.
"One single approach to liquid biopsy is not going to cut it," Trivedi said. "You get this cobble between CTCs is important, circulating tumor DNA is important. Folks are starting to realize that both components are important. As you look at the evolution of the field, you find that it's going to be a much more integrated approach rather than a single technology."
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