Source: © agsandrew / Fotolia
Source: © agsandrew / Fotolia

Biocept said today it has granted Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) rights to commercially offer the molecular diagnostics developer’s Target Selector™ liquid biopsy testing services exclusively throughout Oregon.

In addition, OHSU can use Biocept’s Target Selector assays in-house, and serve as a secondary laboratory for Biocept's research and testing activities, through a preferred provider collaboration and services agreement whose value and other financial terms were not disclosed.

The agreement also launches a partnership through which Biocept and OHSU will co-develop additional liquid biopsy assay technologies and platform capabilities—including highly sensitive, multiplexed assay panels for molecular biomarker detection and assessment.

Biocept said OHSU’s Knight Diagnostic Laboratories (KDL) selected Biocept's Target Selector platform after evaluating several commercially-available and research-stage liquid biopsy technologies.

“The high sensitivity and low cost potential of Biocept's Target Selector platform was attractive to us, and we look forward to working with the Company to develop additional assays, multiplexed panels, and applications of this technology to improve patient care,” Christopher Corless, M.D., Ph.D., KDL’s executive director and CMO, and professor of pathology at OHSU, said in a statement.

Biocept’s Target Selector liquid biopsy technology platform is designed to capture and analyze tumor-associated molecular markers in both circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and in circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). Biocept’s technology uses a proprietary antibody based enrichment technique to capture and detect CTCs found in a patient’s blood sample in as low as 1 tumor cell for every 1 million non-cancerous cells.

The platform’s measurement of ctDNA is designed to suppress amplification of background DNA, but not of mutation sequences that differ from wild-type DNA by even a single nucleotide variant, one unit of DNA. A sensitive switch embedded in Biocept’s tech construct allows amplification of mutants when “open” due to an oncogene mutation, but not when “closed” due to no genetic mutation, such as with wild-type DNA, by varying temperature when testing is performed.

Biocept’s technology also contains fluorescent labels and quenchers designed to provide a fluorescent read-out in real-time PCR assays, as well as the ability to preferentially amplify sequences of interest prior to sequencing. In real-time PCR, the company’s assays give discrimination of more than 1:10,000 (mutant:wild-type).

The company has commercialized assays for lung, breast, gastric, colorectal and prostate cancers, and melanoma.

“Our agreement with OHSU is a major milestone for Biocept, as we increase our commercial footprint by partnering with one of the most prestigious cancer centers in the nation,” added Michael W. Nall, Biocept's President and CEO.

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