Biocept said today it will partner with Shilpa Gupta, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota, to study the company’s Target Selector™ liquid biopsy technology platform, through a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

Target Selector is designed to capture and analyze tumor-associated molecular markers in both circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and in plasma (circulating tumor DNA, or ctDNA). The study will assess the utility of Target Selector using CTCs to detect the expression of programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) and androgen receptor (AR) in patients diagnosed with bladder and prostate cancers.

“Biocept's liquid biopsy tests have shown high concordance with tissue biopsies in detecting genetic mutations associated with multiple cancers, and this study is aimed at providing additional clinical support for the use of these tests specifically in bladder and prostate cancers,” Dr. Gupta said in a statement.

The study will be conducted at the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center.

Prostate cancer is among cancers for which Biocept has launched Target Selector offerings. Other cancers include breast cancer, non-small-cell lung cancer, small-cell lung cancer, gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, and melanoma.

Biocept’s Target Selector assay for prostate cancer is based on the analysis of CTCs found in a standard blood sample. Biocept offers testing for AR and plans to validate testing for phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) gene deletions by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), according to the company’s Form 10-Q for the second-quarter, filed August 5.

“We believe the Target Selector technology can someday be used as a stand-alone test for molecular biomarker screening, marked as in vitro diagnostics kits,” Biocept stated in the filing.

According to Biocept, Target Selector platforms are designed to provide both biomarker detection as well as monitoring, requiring only a blood sample. Target Selector’s CTC offering is based on an internally developed and patented, microfluidics-based, capture and analysis platform, whereas the company’s patent-pending Target Selector ctDNA technology is designed to enable mutation detection with enhanced sensitivity and specificity and is applicable to nucleic acid from CTCs or other sample types, such as blood plasma.

Dr. Gupta is an assistant professor in the University of Minnesota’s Hematology Oncology and Transplantation Division.

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