Clinical OMICS

MAR-APR 2017

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 20 of 47 March/April 2017 Clinical OMICs 19 Exosome Diagnostics Enters Molecular Profiling Partnership with Merck Exosome Diagnostics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology com- pany, announced in February a new partnership with Merck KGaA . Through their new agreement, Exosome will give Merck access to its propri- etary diagnostic technology platforms for both nucleic acids and proteins in order to advance drug development in a variety of therapeutic areas, including oncol- ogy . This includes Exosome's recently launched Shahky, a liquid biopsy instru- ment that can capture and detect disease-specific exosomes from plasma and quantitatively assess relevant proteins . Exosomes contain RNA, DNA, and proteins, and they are secreted by almost all cells into biofluids, including blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and urine. Because they are present across a variety of diseases, including cancer, inflammatory disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases, exosomes are a useful target for molecular pro- filing. "The ability to interrogate RNA in blood can enable minimally invasive testing of broader biomarker panels, both at baseline and during therapy," said Jürgen Scheuenpflug, Ph.D., global head of clinical biomarkers and companion diagnos- tics at Merck . "We are excited to bring first of its kind technologies, such as Shahky, to our partners," Mario Morken, head of business development for Exosome Diagnos- tics, said in a statement . "The Shahky instrument represents a disruptive technology for drug devel- opment and ultimately the clinic." According to Exosome, Shahky was tested and validated at an undisclosed "leading Boston hospital" this January . "These new technologies enable less invasive and longitudinal biomarker assessments which [can] inform combination strategies and patient selection," Dr. Scheuenpflug told Clinical OMICs. "The most exciting aspect of this partnership is that the interroga- tion of RNA from blood can pro- vide competitive advantages for Merck as well as a more compre- hensive understanding of tumor biology."—Diana Kwon company's genetic screening and non- invasive prenatal testing (NIPT ) on an in-network basis to its 46 million sub- scribers starting in mid February. "Having NxGen MDx in the Aetna net- work allows me the flexibility to use the testing services that I believe are in my patients' best interest," said Mark Perloe, M.D., medical director at Georgia Repro- ductive Specialists, Atlanta. Aetna will cover the costs for all 120 genetic disorders currently screened by NxGen via panels or stand-alone screens. "Like NxGen MDx, Aetna's goal is to pro- vide tools to help physicians and patients make informed decisions about their health care. We are both trying to accom- plish the same goal," said Alan Mack, CEO of NxGen MDx. British Genome Analysis Company Congenica Raises $10M in Series B Financing Congenica, a provider of clinical genomic analysis technology recently raised £8 million ($10 million) in a Series B financ- ing round to fund the ongoing com- mercial roll out of its Sapientia clinical genome analysis platform. The Sapientia platform analyzes genome-scale DNA data. Its reports are used both in the clinic for decision-mak- ing and to inform research and develop- ment activities. Since its launch in 2014, the technology has been adopted at clinical and research organizations in the U.K., China, the U.S., including Genomics England's 100K Genomes Project. "Congenica's vision is to ensure that advances in genom- ics bring benefits to patients and healthcare delivery. Our goal is to be the international leader in data solutions for rapid and accurate diag- nosis of rare genetic dis- ease," said Congenica CEO Tom Weaver. n (continued from previous page) Shahky, Exosome's recently launched liquid biopsy instrument, is named for its unique profile—think "Sharky" pronounced with a Boston accent.

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