NEW YORK – The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health awarded Oxford BioDynamics a $910,000 Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies grant to apply its EpiSwitch diagnostic platform to predicting patient responses to immune checkpoint inhibitors, or ICIs, from blood samples.
ICIs target either of the two immune regulatory proteins PD-1 or PD-L1. Under 30 percent of eligible patients are estimated to benefit from these drugs, however, and a similar number may experience significant and sometimes fatal side effects from their use.
The EpiSwitch ICI Response Test is a noninvasive, epigenetic liquid biopsy assay that OBD expects to launch in the fourth quarter of this year.
The two-year PACT grant will fund the extended application of the EpiSwitch technology to the analysis of primary and acquired ICI resistance in several clinical trials. These include over 186 longitudinal samples in an observational trial that encompasses at least four separate ICI therapies and seven common cancer types.
That project is expected to further validate the assay for both predicting patient response and monitoring ICI monotherapy resistance, and to evaluate key differences between the predictive profiles of patients treated with combinations of ICI therapies and an epigenetic drug.
"The PACT partners are pleased to support the development of a novel epigenetic biomarker platform that can be used in a non-invasive manner and across various clinical settings, thereby allowing for better assignment of patients to specific immunotherapies to treat their cancer," Stacey Adam, associate vice president of research partnerships at the FNIH, said in a statement.
"The recognition of the EpiSwitch platform by the consortium of US federal agencies and top pharmaceutical stakeholders marks another significant validation of OBD’s ability via 3D genomics technology to address the clinical challenges of personalized medicine, cancer treatment, and immune health," said Jon Burrows, CEO of OBD.