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BioMark Diagnostics, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Others Partner in Lung Cancer Screening Project

NEW YORK ─ Liquid biopsy testing firm BioMark Diagnostics said Tuesday its Quebec City-based subsidiary BioMark Diagnostic Solutions will collaborate with pharma companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer Canada as well as the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute in a C$3.5 million ($2.7 million) research project to develop screening tools for the early detection of lung cancer.

The collaborators aim to develop new screening tools that use artificial intelligence and combine radiomic, genetic, and metabolomic biomarkers, BioMark said. The study also will seek to identify individuals who may benefit from more invasive tests, including lung biopsy.

Financial support for the project is being provided in part by the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation and from a donation to the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Foundation, also known as the Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et Pneumologie du Québec Foundation.

The initiative, called Development and Evaluation of a Multimodal Approach to Predict Lung Cancer Risk and Determine EGFR Mutation Profile in a Lung Cancer Screening Population, will use data and samples from Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et Pneumologie du Québec-Université Laval's biobank. The study involving eight Quebec hospitals will recruit up to 4,000 patients.

"The results of this demonstration project will enable the creation of a reference framework for the health authorities, so that they can implement an effective lung cancer screening program for at-risk populations," Jean-François Haince, general manager and chief scientific officer of BioMark Diagnostic Solutions, said in a statement.

Earlier this month, BioMark said it had been awarded advisory services and funding of up to C$169,550 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program to support development of a liquid biopsy assay for the early detection and screening of lung cancer.