Blood draw for liquid biopsy.
Credit: AlexRaths/iStock

Biocept said today it will become Thermo Fisher Scientific’s “Center of Excellence” for oncology-focused liquid biopsy efforts as part of a commercial collaboration whose value was not disclosed—months after a research alliance between the companies yielded promising results.

The collaboration will begin with the companies partnering to validate Thermo Fisher's Oncomine next-generation sequencing (NGS) liquid biopsy panels in Biocept's CLIA-certified laboratory.

Upon that validation and other undisclosed requirements, Thermo Fisher plans to award Biocept its Center of Excellence designation. Biocept said the companies also plan to partner on various commercial efforts, initially targeting pharmaceutical companies with the goals of providing diagnostic testing services for drug development, supporting clinical trials, and pursuing companion diagnostic (CDx) initiatives.

In addition, the companies plan to assess the feasibility of developing products that integrate Biocept’s Target Selector test platform with Oncomine and Thermo Fisher’s IonTorrent NGS platform, Biocept added.

“We have enjoyed a strong working relationship with Thermo Fisher from the time we launched our Target Selector liquid biopsy molecular platform, and look forward to bringing additional best-in class liquid biopsy tests to both pharmaceutical and clinical clients from this collaboration,” Biocept President and CEO Michael Nall said in a statement.

According to Biocept, Target Selector enables oncologists to rapidly detect and monitor cancer biomarkers by analyzing both circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). Target Selector uses proprietary enrichment methods to identify the molecular alterations.

Thermo Fisher’s Oncomine assays are multi-biomarker targeted assays designed for cancer research, and designed to enable NGS analysis of multiple biomarker types—fusions, insertion/deletions (indels), single nucleotide variants, and copy number variations. The assays are part of a Thermo Fisher end-to-end workflow that includes the Ion S5 Series sequencers designed for simple, scalable sequencing, as well as the Oncomine Knowledgebase Reporter genomic analysis software tool, intended to facilitate optimized bioinformatics and reporting of NGS data.

Powered by semiconductor chips, Thermo Fisher’s Ion Torrent NGS technology is intended for researchers seeking a fast and simple workflow scaled to research needs across applications that include inherited diseases, oncology, infectious diseases, reproductive genomics, human identification, and agrigenomics.

The commercial collaboration comes more than two months after a successful research partnership by the companies. Biocept publicly credited incorporation of Thermo Fisher’s QuantStudio5 (QS5) real-time PCR instrument into Target Selector ct DNA lung cancer assays with improvements in the detection of key lung cancer mutations.

Biocept said January 9 that data from 3,000 samples analyzed using Biocept's liquid biopsy assays for EGFR, BRAF and KRAS mutations showed single mutant copy detection on the QS5 platform with more than 99% sensitivity and more than 99% specificity. The company presented its results at the Fifth AACR-IASLC International Joint Conference: Lung Cancer Translational Science from the Bench to the Clinic, held January 8-11 in San Diego.

Also of Interest