Caris Life Sciences said today it has acquired the oncology-focused specialized research management organization Pharmatech for an undisclosed price, in a deal designed to help the buyer further serve cancer drug developers by helping their efforts to identify and rapidly enroll patients in precision oncology trials.

Based in Irving, TX, Pharmatech had developed a “just-in-time” clinical trials recruitment service as well as a research-ready oncology trial network designed to connect physicians and patients at hundreds of cancer research centers nationwide—including universities, hospitals, and advanced community-based sites.

In acquiring Pharmatech, Caris said, it is advancing a shift in clinical trial enrollment. Rather than rely on traditional physician outreach, the company favors an approach where patients are identified at the lab and their physician informed, allowing for those patients to be enrolled quickly, and to remain in the care of their physicians without having to travel to a large central trial site.

Caris said it will offer physicians and patients clinical trial options that allow for patient identification and enrollment completion as quickly as 10 days.

The company already offers Caris Molecular Intelligence, which is designed to reveal a molecular profile for guiding personalized treatment decisions by assessing DNA, RNA, and proteins. The molecular profiling platform is used by oncologists to inform the treatment of tens of thousands of cancer patients every year, according to Caris.

By combining Pharmatech’s recruitment service and trial network with its large-scale molecular profiling services, Caris said, it also aims to expand enrollment opportunities for clinical trials beyond the handful of academic medical centers that drug developers typically call upon.

“This acquisition allows Caris to facilitate interactions between drug developers who are seeking patients with specific cancer profiles and physicians who are seeking new treatment options for their patients,” Caris Chairman and CEO David D. Halbert said in a statement.

Halbert added that Caris has developed a new technology that allows the company to identify twice as many fusions compared with any other technology, “assuring that every patient that is a candidate for a trial gets enrolled.”

Added Matthew Wiener, PharmD, Pharmatech’s President and Founder: “This acquisition brings a more integrated service offering to the industry that will significantly improve patient care by quickly identifying patients who can benefit from clinical trials.”

Caris said it views closer integration between drug developers, oncologists, central laboratories, and trial management companies as key to its clinical trial paradigm for targeted cancer therapies.

“Unfortunately, access to clinical trials for these therapies is not broadly available, and we are seeing low participation rates among cancer patients primarily due to lack of access to and awareness of both broad molecular profiling and open clinical trials.  This precludes patients from benefiting from cutting edge treatment opportunities and hampers efficient and expeditious drug development,” added Caris’ Chief Medical Officer W. Michael Korn, MD. “Caris’ acquisition of Pharmatech will change this, helping to ensure that patients with rare mutations and other biomarkers can readily be identified and connected with emerging therapies that can positively impact their lives.”

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