Partnership aims to generate benchtop system for clinical and drug discovery applications.

Veridex is teaming up with the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to develop the next-generation of its circulating tumor cell (CTC) technology for capturing tumor cells in patients’ blood. The goal is to develop a benchtop system that will allow CTCs to be used as a diagnostic tool for therapeutic decision making and for drug discovery and development applications.

Veridex is owned by Johnson & Johnson (J&J), and the collaboration will also exploit the oncology therapeutics, biomarker, and companion diagnostics expertise of J&J Pharmaceutical Research & Development’s Ortho Biotech Oncology Research & Development (ORD) business.

“This new technology has the potential to facilitate an easy-to-administer, noninvasive blood test that will allow us to count tumor cells and to characterize the biology of the cells,” comments Robert McCormack, head of technology, innovation, and strategy at Veridex. “Harnessing the information contained in these cells in an in vitro clinical setting could enable tools to help select treatment and monitor how patients are responding.”

The collaboration will provide Veridex with access to MGH’s experience in clinical research and novel CTC technologies along with ORD’s capabilities. “The role of CTCs in drug discovery and development is gorwing as new technologies allow us to use CTCs for the first time as templates for novel DNA, RNA, and protein biomarkers,” remarks Nicholas Dracopoli, vp biomarkers at ORD.

“Given the demand for actionable data to guide personalized medicine for patients with cancer, there is a rapidly growing need for advanced, automated noninvasive technologies that can aid in selection of treatment and monitor response throughout the course of their disease.”

Veridex says that it is the only diagnostics firm to have achieved FDA clearance for an in vitro diagnostic assay for capturing and counting tumor cells in a patient’s blood to help provide information on prognosis and survival in certain types of metastatic cancers. It will be responsible for guiding clinical validation and regulatory submissions for any future diagnostic applications of the new technology.

Veridex’s current FDA-approved CTC CellSearch® System automates the capture and detection of CTCs to help determine the prognosis and overall survival of patients with metastatic breast, colorectal, or prostate cancers. The firm claims the system is the only laboratory platform that standardizes sample collection, cell capture, staining, enumeration, and characterization of CTCs.

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