OncoCyte Corporation, a molecular diagnostics company announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire, through a subsidiary, all of the outstanding capital stock of privately-held Insight Genetics, Inc., which has a history of impactful discoveries in the areas of lung and breast cancer.
OncoCyte entered into the agreement to access IG’s technology and pharma service offerings. IG has a rich menu of relevant targeted therapeutic panels including two emerging therapeutic targets, RET and NTRK. IG’s lead test is the “Immune Modulation” (IM Score), a gene expression test that measures the state of the immune system in biopsies from cancer patients to identify patients more likely to respond to PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapies. Data presented at the 2019 Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Annual Meeting showed a strong association of the IM score with response to PD-1/PD-L1 targeted immunotherapy in lung cancer.
Importantly, the IM Score test was superior to two currently marketed predictive companion diagnostic tests for immunotherapy selection, PD-1/PD-L1 IHC staining and tumor mutational burden (TMB). IG’s lab has capacity to support clinical trials or assay design across a cadre of currently available commercial platforms to develop companion diagnostics and has successfully completed audits by major pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies. IG has performed assay development and clinical testing for leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
IG has achieved ISO 9001 certification, and it has a CLIA-certified and College of American Pathology -accredited lab that performs and develops proprietary cancer tests. IG’s initial work identified and patented an ALK PCR translocation assay licensed by Qiagen. Its second initiative focused on Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC), where IG developed a unique classifier that identifies six subtypes of TNBC, many of which have been demonstrated to have potential companion diagnostic applications to help women manage this deadly form of cancer.
“The addition of the Insight Genetics IM Score Test expands the decision points that OncoCyte’s proprietary portfolio of tests addresses along the lung cancer continuum of care. To our knowledge this test is uniquely differentiated in that it characterizes immune response in cancer tissue in the context of characteristics of surrounding tissue. Combined with DetermaRx (previously the Razor treatment stratification test), we now have proprietary tests that help manage key decision points in both early and more advanced lung cancer,” said Dr. Doug Ross, Consulting Chief Medical Officer of OncoCyte.
The principal investigator of IG’s study, Dr. Gregory Vidal M.D, Ph.D., Lead of the Breast Cancer Research program at the West Cancer Center and Research Institute and Assistant Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, added, “Identifying which patients will benefit most from immunotherapy remains an outstanding question for oncologists. The data presented by the Insight Genetics team at SITC is incredibly promising, and the oncology community is looking forward to seeing the impact the IM score test can have on a broader patient population. I believe it has the potential to improve patient outcomes and streamline the development of new therapies.”