Epic Sciences, a privately held cancer diagnostics company of La Jolla, Calif., has established collaborations with six pharmaceutical partners employing Epic’s proprietary Circulating Tumor Cell (“CTC”) technology.
The partners include two of the top four pharmaceutical companies worldwide. In total, the collaborations include 12 clinical trials involving over 40 distinct projects measuring 18 different protein or genomic tumor markers on CTCs. The clinical trials include sites in the U.S., Europe and Asia, with over 1,500 patients and 2,500 clinical samples in prostate, lung, breast, pancreatic and ovarian cancers.
These partnerships leverage Epic’s platform to identify and characterize rare cells in fluids. Most CTC technologies employ a physical enrichment strategy based on a few markers thought to be present on the majority of cancer cells. Because cancer cells are heterogeneous, Epic chose a different path which physically retains all of the cells and identifies the CTCs using multi-parametric analysis in a “no cells left behind” strategy.
“Given that we have been operating in stealth mode, Epic has been pleased by the extraordinary level of interest and clinical deal flow around our CTC detection and characterization platform,” said Dr. David Nelson, president and CEO of Epic Sciences. “By using Epic to molecularly characterize CTCs, our pharmaceutical partners are looking to improve the success rate, decrease the cost, and expedite commercial launch of their targeted therapies. Payers are also expected to gain by achieving better health economics as care evolves to provide the right drug to the right patient at the right time.
Nelson added, “Ultimately, of course, we hope that the biggest beneficiaries will be all of the patients whose individual outcomes are improved by personalized medicine guided by Epic’s diagnostic products.”