BioMarker Strategies Announces Phase I National Cancer Institute Grant


ROCKVILLE, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BioMarker Strategies, LLC today announced that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded the Company a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for development of a pathway-based companion diagnostic test to identify patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) who are most likely to respond to treatment with cetuximab. The grant will provide $299,000 in research support.“Cetuximab is FDA-approved for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma as monotherapy or in combination with radiation or platinum-based therapy, and it is the most widely prescribed drug for the treatment of HNSCC. Yet, the patient response rate to cetuximab based on the landmark clinical trial is only approximately 13%,” said Jerry Parrott, President and CEO of BioMarker Strategies. “There is a clear and urgent medical need for a companion diagnostic test to identify those patients with HNSCC who are most likely to respond to cetuximab.”

“We will use these funds from NCI to develop a companion diagnostic based on live HNSCC cells to provide information about response at the tumor cell signaling level to cetuximab treatment of individual head and neck squamous cell carcinomas,” Mr. Parrott said. “We believe this approach will support the optimal selection of individual patients for treatment with cetuximab alone or in combination with other therapies.”

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma is the world’s 6th leading cause of cancer and accounts for 5% of cancer mortality. In the United States, it is estimated that the upward trend in HNSCC rates will continue in 2017, with approximately 70,000 patients newly diagnosed and approximately 14,000 deaths. Most HNSCC diagnoses occur at late stages, leading to poor prognosis and survival rates. This gives greater urgency to the need for a companion diagnostic test to improve therapeutic decision-making.

About BioMarker Strategies

BioMarker Strategies has developed the SnapPath® Cancer Diagnostics System. SnapPath is the only cancer diagnostics system that automates and standardizes functional ex vivo profiling of live solid tumor cells from fresh biopsies or other fresh, unfixed samples such as xenografts or tumorgrafts. The SnapPath System is an automated and highly customizable fluidics-based system consisting of a compact bench-top instrument and a single-use cartridge for required consumables and reagents. The SnapPath system generates purified populations of live solid tumor cells from fresh unfixed tissue samples, and keeps them alive on the instrument to enable generation of highly predictive biomarker tests, which the Company has named PathMAP® Functional Signaling Profiles.

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