Pioneering and Focused on Making a Difference to Cancer Management – Liquid Biopsy

Liquid biopsy offers the potential to transform the way physicians manage cancer and deliver significant benefits to patients by guiding and personalizing treatment, monitoring response and detecting relapse. Here, Clive Morris, CEO of Inivata, talks about the company’s proprietary, non-invasive approach to liquid biopsy through ctDNA analysis.

Innovative technology created specifically for liquid biopsy

Our technology was purposefully created to identify ctDNA, the levels of which can be very low in some cancer patients.  Rather than taking a technology that already existed and trying to adapt it to improve its sensitivity, Inivata’s technology was created by going back to the drawing board and asking what was needed to produce gold standard levels of performance.

On one end of the spectrum, analysis can be conducted by highly specific digital droplet PCR but this lacks the ability to be scaled up across multiple genes. On the other end of the spectrum, tools using next generation sequencing have broad applications but can lack the required specificity. Our academic founders, including our CSO Nitzan Rosenfeld, created a pioneering technology that we have shown to be as sensitive as digital PCR with the benefits of testing a broad gene panel.

We’ve then applied a product focus to our technology to address the different needs of patients and clinicians.  Our first product, InVisionFirst-Lung, analyzes blood taken from patients with advanced lung cancer and provides molecular insights for clinicians, helping them make more informed treatment decisions for their patients.

Now, InVisionFirst-Lung is available internationally for both commercial and research use.  We were also one of the first two companies to receive coverage in the US for Medicare patients with advanced (Stage IIIB/IV) NSCLC who meet specific clinical criteria.

Time is of the essence

One thing we know from advanced cancer patients is the importance of time.  No-one wants to be waiting for weeks and weeks for stratification/test results before being able to start their optimal therapy.  Inivata offers best-in-class turnaround of seven days following a simple blood draw.  This gives patients and clinicians the information they need fast, allowing them to follow a tailored treatment path as quickly as possible.

Better personalization of therapy

Getting a test result in a week is only beneficial if the results are accurate, specific and can be actioned.  Our InVisionFirst-Lung liquid biopsy test has been designed to hunt down very small levels of ctDNA in the patient’s blood and analyze it for all types of genetic alterations, from insertions, deletions and single nucleotide variations to gene fusions. With the resulting oncology report that we produce, InVisionFirst-Lung provides clinicians with the genomic information needed to inform patient management, which may help in the identification of the best treatment option when the patient is first diagnosed or as the disease progresses.

The future for Inivata

Having successfully taken our pioneering technology from academic spinout to the point of commercialization, our next phase of growth is targeted at bringing more of our products to as many patients as possible, either ourselves or through partnerships.

We are developing a portfolio of products that follow-on to InVisionFirst-Lung ranging from the detection of minimal residual disease (MRD) post-surgery, to an early stage cancer recurrence monitoring product which uses the same underlying technology but in different settings.  Not only is our InVision platform highly adaptive and can be maneuvered to identify new responders in different situations, it also has the potential to serve other indications further down the line.  Each of these extensions to our pipeline will allow us to maximize further value from our platform and I believe, present strong partnering opportunities with pharmaceutical companies.

And finally…

No single liquid biopsy platform will be able to answer all the questions posed by a clinician.  Much like there is no one car manufacturer globally, the same applies to liquid biopsy solutions.  We don’t all need an SUV or a sports car. Different people have different needs, and some may have a combination of needs.  The same analogy applies to cancer diagnostics.

Liquid biopsy companies with different technologies should be complementary, working together to the benefit of the patient and the clinician.  As a patient progresses through their disease pathway, be it at initial diagnosis or monitoring for recurrence, I believe there should always be a need for multiple liquid biopsy solutions and Inivata will continue to be a pioneer in this field.

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