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Biocept Lung Cancer Liquid Biopsy Test Obtains Coverage From Blue Cross Affiliate Highmark

NEW YORK – Liquid biopsy firm Biocept said Monday that Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliate Highmark has made a positive coverage determination for Biocept’s Target Selector liquid biopsy test in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

Following the announcement, the share price of the company's stock — which recently underwent a reverse split aimed at sidestepping potential Nasdaq delisting — was up about 3 percent at $4.62.

The Highmark decision follows a two-year evaluation conducted with researchers at the Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute, in which investigators tested both newly diagnosed, treatment-naive advanced NSCLC patients and those progressing after initial therapy.

They compared the liquid biopsy results to tissue-based testing in order to determine whether blood-based testing might improve the efficiency and consistency of molecular profiling in this cancer type. Despite the advances of targeted therapies, a large percentage of NSCLC patients still do not undergo recommended molecular profiling due to a number of hurdles, including a lack of tissue in cases where biopsy is dangerous, impossible, or ineffective.

Gene Finley, deputy director of Allegheny Health Network Medical Oncology and lead investigator on the project, said in a statement that the study results showed that Biocept’s liquid biopsy test "provided clinicians with accurate knowledge about their patients’ disease, allowing us to implement more effective and better targeted treatment strategies."

"This improves the patient experience and lowers healthcare costs," he added.

According to Biocept, Highmark’s coverage determination applies across the insurer’s footprint, which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia, and represents about 5.6 million members. Highmark will be the first insurer in this area to provide coverage of Biocept's liquid biopsy testing.