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Owlstone Medical, Bicycle Therapeutics Ink Research Agreement on Early Cancer Detection

NEW YORK – Owlstone Medical and Bicycle Therapeutics said on Wednesday that the firms will collaborate on research into breath-based early cancer detection tests that would combine Bicycle's proprietary bicyclic peptides with Owlstone's exogenous volatile organic compound probes.

The UK-based firms said their initial studies will focus on developing a lung cancer screening test using Owlstone-developed probes that respond to enzyme activity in a tumor microenvironment by releasing a volatile reporter chemical that can be detected in breath when a tumor is present. The researchers plan to use those probes with Bicycle's peptide technology to direct binding and accumulation of the probe onto tumor cells, which would increase release of the reporter chemical.

The firms jointly said the research agreement could produce antigen-targeted probes that would support cell-based and in vivo studies during preclinical research as well as aid patient stratification and target engagement measurement in clinical trials. The targeted probes also have potential for use as companion diagnostics to identify which patients respond to a therapy and to measure target engagement during the treatment.

Owlstone CEO Billy Boyle said in a statement that the partnership and the resulting antigen-targeted screening tests could have a broad range of precision medicine applications.

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.