2020-06-15| M&A

Foundation Medicine Fortifies Growing Prominence in Liquid Biopsy Space by Acquiring Lexent Bio

by Rajaneesh K. Gopinath
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By Rajaneesh K. Gopinath, Ph.D.

The use of circulating free DNA in the blood is touted to become the standard of care for diagnosing certain cancers. With its FoundationOne Liquid currently under regulatory review, the Cambridge, MA-based company, is now strengthening its liquid biopsy testing capabilities with this acquisition.

On June 12th, Foundation Medicine Inc. (F.M.I.) announced completing the acquisition of San Francisco-based Lexent Bio, Inc., a precision oncology company developing novel liquid biopsy platforms. F.M.I, a Roche subsidiary is reputed for its first and only FDA-approved, broad, comprehensive genomic profiling test, FoundationOneCDx, for solid tumors. The NGS based assay has bagged multiple FDA authorizations as a companion diagnostic for approved cancer therapies. Recently, it was greenlighted for Lynparza, to identify HRR-gene alterations in the prostate tumor tissue, marking its 22nd approval.

F.M.I. is now looking to thrive on its successful foothold in tissue testing by expanding into liquid biopsy assays. In an official statement, it said the technology developed by Lexent “complements its existing efforts and partnerships in that area”.

Cindy Perettie, C.E.O. at Foundation Medicine, said, “Lexent Bio’s platforms align well with our liquid biopsy research and development strategy, which ultimately aims to bring the latest research innovations into routine clinical use in metastatic disease and at potentially earlier stages of patient care,”


FoundationOne Liquid

As determined by a global, metastatic lung cancer trial, FoundationOne Liquid is the only liquid biopsy test with the capability to identify patients harboring ALK fusions at comparable frequencies to that of solid tumor tests. It provides mutation profiles of guideline-recommended genes, including the microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) biomarker status, and aids in informed therapy decisions. Besides, it also establishes the predictive role of tumor mutational burden (T.M.B.) biomarker to optimize precision medicine approaches.

FoundationOne Liquid is gaining excellent traction with several new data presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) virtual scientific program this year. Filed for FDA approval at the end of December 2019, the test is presently under regulatory review. At this juncture, F.M.I. has made the right move by acquiring Lexent.

“They bring with them an accomplished group of clinicians, scientists, and engineers who share our patient-centric, science-first mission to transform cancer care. We’re thrilled to welcome them to our team and look forward to their contributions to our research and development efforts to deliver new breakthroughs that advance precision medicine and patient care.” said Cindy Perettie about Lexent.


Lexent’s Liquid Biopsy Assay

Lexent’s own liquid biopsy assay, Confera Dx, is it’s first commercialized product. It’s proof of concept article was published last month in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Last year, it entered a non-exclusive partnership with Illumina to develop an in-vitro diagnostic kit that could operate on the latter’s NGS product, NextSeq™ 550Dx System. The kit would also potentially broaden patient access to Confera Dx.

“Our team is passionate about changing the way we understand and treat cancer. We’ve spent years building a platform that, once developed and available, will help guide oncologists to identify patients at higher risk for disease progression, and to make better treatment decisions earlier in patient care,” said Ken Nesmith, co-founder of and C.E.O. at Lexent Bio. “The team is pleased to join Foundation Medicine and work collaboratively to bring these capabilities to physicians and their patients.”

Related Article: Thermo Fisher Scientific to Acquire Qiagen in US$ 11.5 Billion Deal



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