BioMarker Strategies received a $1.5 million SBIR award to develop a pathway-based companion diagnostic test to facilitate the selection of optimal therapy for patients with melanoma. This award was preceded by an NCI award of $200,000 almost two years ago in September 2011.

The company used the funding from the first award to expand its predictive test development program for use in its automated SnapPath™ live tumor cell testing system. Initial tumor types included melanoma and breast cancer.

The $1.5 million second phase of the award will support the refinement of the PathMAP assay and ex vivo protocols developed in phase 1, and will also support PathMAP test validation in clinical samples.

“Targeted therapies now exist, including the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib, that can help melanoma patients keep their cancer in check,” said Douglas Clark, M.D., founder and CEO of BioMarker Strategies. “The challenge is to determine which individual patients are most likely to benefit from which therapy or combination of therapies. PathMAP is a pathway-based companion diagnostic assay that uses a patient’s live tumor cells to provide better information, including patient resistance to therapy, to support targeted therapy selection for individual melanoma patients.”

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