Life Technologies will team up with the physician practice management company RainTree Oncology Services on a series of collaborations designed to advance personalized care for cancer patients by bringing molecular testing advances to community oncology practices, and developing a streamlined protocol for entering patients into clinical trials for new targeted therapies.

Financial terms were not disclosed for the collaborations, which include developing a clinical trials recruitment database that incorporates RainTree’s datasets. These datasets are to be enhanced by other data sources, including Life Technologies’ Compendia Oncomine® analytics engine, which is designed to help identify targeted therapeutics for trials on certain tumor genotypes. Patient data will be housed in a de-identified format in a custom database that will be made available to pharmaceutical companies for recruitment of Phase I clinical patients, as well as to participating clinical research organizations (CROs) to support recruitment for later-phase trials.

The companies also agreed to collaborate on matching oncology patients to clinical trials using a next-generation sequencing oncology screening panel, with Life Tech saying it intends through the collaboration to participate in developing next-generation sequencing panels allowing for deep interrogation of tumors.

“Through our collaboration with Life Technologies, we will be able to tap into new genetic information that, along with our existing datasets, will help guide patients to enroll in clinical trials based on the genetic signatures of their tumors,” said Jeff Patton, M.D., RainTree’s CMO and CEO of Tennessee Oncology, the nation’s second largest independent community oncology practice. RainTree serves more than 600 community oncologists in about 40 practices.

Additional assays may also be developed under the collaboration, which according to the companies will include promoting next-generation sequencing to private payors and health plans. The firms also plan to cooperate in building and marketing comprehensive product, test, and data offerings for CROs.

“Our goal is to ensure that patients in the community setting have the same access to advanced technologies, such as genetic sequencing, as patients in the top academic centers,” said Ronnie Andrews, Life Tech’s president of genetic and medical sciences. “This collaboration also establishes a mechanism for pharmaceutical companies to identify the patients they need for clinical trials to bring new, targeted therapies to market.”

Life Tech is being acquired by Thermo Fisher for $13.6 billion, plus $2.2 billion in debt, in a deal announced April 15.

The collaboration with RainTree is Life Tech’s second announced in less than a week that is focused on fighting cancer. On July 31, Life Tech said it will exclusively license to Novartis its Dynabeads® CD3/CD28 CTS technology, the first collaboration for the tools giant going beyond companion diagnostics, into development of a gene therapy that uses infusions of the patients’ own T cells genetically engineered to attack their tumors. 

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