BioMarker Strategies was awarded a Phase 1/2 Fast Track Small Business Innovative Research grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop a new biomarker test called PathMAP NSCLC. The diagnostic test will guide individualized therapy for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
BioMarker Strategies, based in Rockville, Maryland, currently has a six-month $300,000 Phase 1 grant to achieve predetermined milestones, which will transition into a two-year, $2 million Phase 2 grant for the development of PathMAP NSCLC.
PathMAP NSCLC will act as a complementary diagnostic tool to SnapPath, the BioMarker Strategies cancer diagnostic system that provides functional profiles of live solid tumor cells taken from fresh biopsies. By using the predictive signaling information generated during the analysis of live cells from SnapPath, PathMAP can facilitate individual therapy and treatments to prevent drug resistance. The system can also predict tumor response to treatment.
Several treatment options exist for patients with NSCLC. Targeted therapies include those that are directed at tumor blood vessel growth, cells with changes in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and cells with genetic changes in the ALK gene, such as bevacizumab (Avastin) and ramucirumab (Cyramza), erlotinib (Tarceva), and crizotinib (Xalkori), respectively.
BioMarker Strategies hopes that PathMAP can be used to resolve the current challenge of selecting the proper targeted therapy for individual NSCLC patients.
“Targeted therapies now exist, including the EGFR inhibitor erlotinib, that can help patients with non-small cell lung cancer keep their cancer in check,” said BioMarker Strategies President and CEO Jerry Parrott in a press release.
“The challenge is to determine which individual patients are most likely to benefit from which therapy or combination of therapies. PathMAP is a pathway-based companion diagnostic assay that uses a patient’s live tumor cells to provide better information, including patient resistance to therapy, to support targeted therapy selection for individual patients with solid tumor cancers,” he said.
The core technology behind BioMarker Strategies diagnostics was recently patented in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Hong Kong.
BioMarker Strategies is also developing PathMAP Melanoma as a companion diagnostic to guide individualized therapy for melanoma patients. PathMAP Melanoma is under an ongoing Phase 2 NCI contract.