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Bayer, Veracyte to Identify Therapy-Resistant Thyroid Cancer Patients

NEW YORK – Veracyte said on Tuesday that it has partnered with Bayer to launch the Precision Oncology Patient Identification Program in thyroid cancer, which will focus on identifying patients who may benefit from biomarker-driven therapies.

As part of the collaboration, Bayer will offer Veracyte's Afirma Xpression Atlas (XA) to identify underlying genomic drivers, including NTRK gene fusions, in tumors of late-stage or metastatic patients. Bayer will provide testing at no cost to all eligible patients when ordered by their physician, regardless of their final results and treatment decisions.

South San Francisco-based Veracyte's Afirma XA uses RNA whole-transcriptome sequencing to identify 905 DNA variants and 235 RNA fusions in 593 genes on fine needle aspirate samples extracted from thyroid nodules or lymph nodes.

The companies expect to launch the program in the first quarter of 2021.

"Our collaboration with Bayer will help ensure that all eligible thyroid cancer patients can be tested and identified for actionable genomic alterations — at no cost to them — so they may potentially benefit from biomarker-driven therapies," Bonnie Anderson, CEO and chairman of Veracyte, said in a statement. "This is the first collaboration between the two companies, and we anticipate continued strategic programs to further precision oncology."

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

"Patients whose thyroid cancer contains actionable alterations and no longer responds to traditional radioactive iodine therapy now have targeted treatment options available to them," Bhavesh Ashar, senior VP and head of US oncology at Bayer, said in a statement. "Our goal is to identify such patients so physicians can make more informed treatment decisions for their patients."

Bayer currently markets larotrectinib (Vitrakvi), which is approved for all refractory solid tumors with NTRK gene fusions.