Epic Sciences enters into 35th pharma collaboration to advance companion diagnostics for new targeted therapeutics.

Epic Sciences, a private biotech company that develops novel diagnostics to personalize and advance the treatment and management of cancer, announced today that it has signed its 35th collaboration agreement with pharmaceutical companies. These collaborations use the Epic Sciences circulating tumor cell (CTC) platform to observationally monitor changes in the composition of CTCs during the course of clinical trials. In addition, CTCs identified are characterized by a range of genomic and proteomic markers. These CTC profiles can then be used to generate signatures that can be the basis of companion diagnostics that match the right patients to the right therapies. Epic Sciences’ “no cell left behind” platform identifies CTCs in an unbiased manner, without enrichment or depletion on any parameter, and has the capability to detect all categories of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood.

“We selected Epic Sciences’ “no cell left behind” platform for its unbiased approach to detecting and analyzing all categories of CTCs, providing a comprehensive and dynamic picture of tumor development,” said Dr. Chandtip Chandhasin, director of translational science at ESSA Pharmaceuticals. “CTCs are a powerful tool in understanding the different phenotypes of cancer and can provide utility in cancer management and predicting outcomes. Epic Sciences is leading the way in making these cells clinically useful.”

Many CTC technologies rely on size or surface marker parameters. Cells that don’t fit these rigid definitions may be the ones most likely to metastasize. In addition, methods, such as tissue biopsies with genomic analysis and liquid biopsies that analyze circulating free DNA (cfDNA) in the blood, look at cancer in terms of averages and therefore do not address the issue of cellular heterogeneity in cancer. For example, these technologies do not distinguish between one cancer cell containing three different genetic mutations or three cancer cells each with a different mutation. Each of those two scenarios could require significantly different treatment strategies.

At ASCO 2015, Epic Sciences presented data demonstrating that its technology can identify and retrieve cells for genomic and proteomic analysis on a single cell level, and that those genomic signatures correlated with patient outcomes as measured by response or resistance to therapy.

“CTCs are a powerful tool in the accurate treatment of cancer,” said Jeffrey Hanke, Ph.D., executive vice president, research and development, and chief scientific officer at TESARO, Inc. “Epic Sciences is at the forefront of making these cells useful in clinical settings since their platform provides highly sensitive detection, with single cell resolution which will enable us to better match developed therapies to the right patients.”

Murali Prahalad, Ph.D., president and CEO of Epic Sciences said, “We are very proud of our pharmaceutical collaborations and for having grown this part of the business from 20 collaborators at the beginning of 2015 to the 35 we have today. We believe that this represents a resounding validation of our technology. These collaborations allow Epic Sciences to work closely with companies to help provide unique insights into the cellular diversity within individual clinical trial patients and trial cohorts that can be correlated to drug response. The power of these insights is being leveraged across 12 solid tumor cancers. Our insights are being used by cutting edge, innovative companies including biotechnology companies like ESSA and TESARO as well as global pharmaceutical leaders like Pfizer, Inc.” Dr. Prahalad recently presented the company’s technology in a talk entitled “Matching the Spectrum of Cellular Heterogeneity to the Spectrum of Therapeutic Response in Cancer” at the World CDx Boston 2015, which features a liquid biopsy stream for the first time.

Epic Sciences’ “no cell left behind” technology has been used in more than 150 collaboration projects with academic and industry partners. More than 10,000 patient samples have been committed for testing to date, and over 40 scientific abstracts have been published and presented with leading academic, biotech and pharmaceutical collaborators.

About Epic Sciences

At Epic Sciences, we develop clinically proven predictive tests to detect and monitor cancer at the individual cell level. With a proprietary rare-cell detection engine, we provide insights to clinical, biotech, pharmaceutical and academic teams on how cancer emerges, mutates and remits so they can make pivotal decisions at every point in patient treatment with greater certainty. Recognizing the unique nature of each person’s cancer, we offer truly personalized diagnostic tests, while being non-invasive for the patient.

We have developed the first clinically proven predictive test for metastatic castration-resistant prostrate cancer (mCRPC), the Epic AR-V7 test. Using the same rare-cell detection platform and Epic’s biobank of over 30,000 blood samples, each profiled with predictive biomarkers, we partner with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, major cancer centers, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to pursue additional predictive tests for breast, ovarian, colon and other cancers and diseases. Our mission is to revolutionize cancer care and therapies to make them as precise, safe and life-sustaining as humanly possible.

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