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Burning Rock Biotech Licenses Oncocyte Lung Cancer Assay

NEW YORK – Lung cancer diagnostics firm Oncocyte said on Tuesday that it has signed an exclusive agreement to license its DetermaRx test to Burning Rock Biotech assay in China.

As part of the agreement, Irvine, California-based Oncocyte will receive upfront cash payments after transferring and installing its DetermaRx technology, as well as for a fixed number of tests performed when the assay achieves inclusion in the US Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Oncocyte's DetermaRx treatment stratification test differentiates stage I-IIA non-small cell lung cancer patients at high risk of recurrence who may benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy post-surgery, from those who might avoid it. Oncocyte launched the test in the US through an early access program in January.

Oncocyte noted that it will also receive ongoing royalties per patient tested with DetermaRx, which received coverage from Medicare Administrative Contractor Palmetto GBA in April.

"This agreement with Burning Rock accelerates the ongoing expansion of our DetermaRx test to patients and physicians outside the US and exemplifies our global growth strategy," Ron Andrews, CEO and president of Oncocyte, said in a statement. "We believe aligning with one of the largest and fastest growing companies in China's NGS-based cancer therapy selection market speaks to the strength of DetermaRx as a valuable treatment stratification tool to help clarify this critical treatment decision point in early-stage tumors."

The companies expect to transfer the testing technology in the first quarter of 2021 and complete installation by Q3 2021.

"We believe Oncocyte's risk stratification test fills a clear unmet need in identifying those patients who are at high risk and may benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy, versus low-risk patients who do not have to undergo unnecessary chemo treatments, in a convenient and affordable manner," Yusheng Han, founder and CEO of Burning Rock, said in a statement. "Combining DetermaRx with our products for genetic testing and MRD detection," which is currently under development, "we can provide a comprehensive testing strategy for oncologists to ultimately benefit Chinese early-stage NSCLC patients by improving their survival and quality of life."

Oncocyte noted that the Chinese agreement marks its fifth global licensing agreement and completes its goal of reaching all major word markets within the first year of launch. The firm previously signed a licensing agreement with Chronix Biomedical in October to accelerate the EU market commercial launch of the DetermaRx assay.

In mid-morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Oncocyte had ballooned nearly 34 percent to $2.84.