ANGLE PLC (LON:AGL) said it believes there is the potential to develop the company’s liquid biopsy as a companion diagnostic in clinical trials to assess which patients might respond to immunotherapies being developed for cancer.
This, the firm said, would require building on the work carried out by the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf.
It used the ANGLE-developed Parsortix system to monitor the prevalence of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) in non-small cell lung cancer patients.
New immunotherapies target PD-L1s in cancer cells and the PD-1 proteins they bind to.
They are incredibly effective, with typically 20-30% of patients responding to these new breed of drugs.
So, it is important to know who will benefit from them and who might actually suffer serious toxic side effects. And at US$150,000 per patient these PD-1 and PDL-1 inhibitors are hugely expensive.
Researchers used ANGLE’s Parsortix to harvest circulating tumour cells, the tell-signs of cancer.
The samples were then used to identify whether the drugs such as Keytruda, Opdivo and Tecentriq were having the desired impact in lung cancer patients.
The results showed Parsortix was twice as effective at garnering the CTCs as the competing system. At the same time, researchers were also able to obtain a richer data set from samples on the PD-L1 expression in late-stage patients.
One of the current methods of assessment is a lung biopsy, which is painful, expensive and can lead to complications. Partsortix, by contrast, requires a simple blood sample.
“ANGLE believes there is an opportunity to build on the work undertaken to provide services to pharmaceutical drug trials in determining likely patient responders and as a companion diagnostic to assess which patients are likely to respond to particular immunotherapies,” the company said.
This year the market for immunotherapy treatments such as Keytruda, Opdivo and Tecentriq is forecast to be US$20bn.