Kailos Genetics said today it will partner with Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah to develop a clinical-grade circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) test for breast cancer, using a $2.4 million NIH grant awarded to the partners.

The test is intended to measure ctDNA to detect breast cancer tumors earlier than imaging, as well as provide information about therapy-resistant mutations, Kailos said. The company said the ctDNA test will be affordable as well as sensitive and accurate.

The research and development of the test will be structured as a 5-year multisite study set to occur at HCI facilities and Kailos’ commercial next-generation sequencing Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified laboratory, the company added.

“This research has the potential to make a big difference in the lives of breast cancer patients and oncologists in the coming years,” Katherine Varley, Ph.D., investigator at HCI and assistant professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah, said in a statement.

Headquartered at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, AL, Kailos was founded in 2010 and specializes in professional products and services for clinicians and researchers based on its proprietary TargetRichTM DNA sequencing enrichment and laboratory information system, as well as the Kailos Blue end-to-end software suite.

HCI is a member of the 23-member National Comprehensive Cancer Network and is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. HCI manages the Utah Population Database with more than 16 million records linked to genealogies, health records, and vital statistics.