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Freenome, Walgreens Partner to Diversify Cancer Early Detection Studies

NEW YORK – Walgreens and Freenome said Thursday that they have entered into a multiyear partnership to advance clinical studies of Freenome's blood-based tests for the early detection of cancer, employing Walgreens' compliant recruitment technology and local infrastructure to engage diverse patient populations across the diagnostic firm's research program.

Financial and other terms were not disclosed.

"Through our nationwide presence and trusted pharmacists, we can reach and engage previously underserved patient populations for clinical trials. Supporting the identification of cancers when they are most treatable is one more way we are helping to improve health outcomes of our communities and patients while advancing research in oncology," Ramita Tandon, Walgreens' chief clinical trials officer, said in a statement.

The two companies highlighted the need for diversity in clinical trials, stating that their collaboration aligns with the federal National Cancer Plan's directives to eliminate inequities.

Under the agreement, Walgreens will initially work with clinical trial-facilitator Curebase to recruit patients for Freenome's Sanderson Study, which is evaluating blood-based early cancer detection for multiple tumor types and aims to enroll approximately 8,000 participants.

Using Curebase's platform, Walgreens will target outreach to potentially eligible patients via text, email, or in-person consultation at the pharmacy. After completing a prescreen, eligible patients will then be invited to enroll in the study and Walgreens healthcare providers will perform a single blood draw at one of its clinical trial locations, following up with a telehealth session one year later.

Walgreens and Freenome said they will also work together on building risk-prediction models and population health software, aiming to close existing care gaps and identify people who are eligible and stand to benefit from standard-of-care cancer detection testing but don't currently receive it. Real-world data collected under the collaboration could inform the development of new products and services in Freenome's multi-cancer detection research, including the company’s blood-based colorectal cancer screening test.