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Foundation Medicine, Clovis Oncology Partner on Diagnostics

DNA fragment (Wikimedia Commons)

(Wikimedia Commons)

Genomic diagnostics provider Foundation Medicine in Cambridge, Massachusetts and biotechnology company Clovis Oncology in Boulder, Colorado, will collaborate on diagnostics to identify cancer patients most likely to respond to rucaparib, a drug candidate in development by Clovis Oncology. Rucaparib is a small-molecule drug developed to treat tumors with defective BRCA gene function in breast and ovarian cancers.

Foundation Medicine develops genomic analysis diagnostics applied to cancer care to help physicians and patients tailor therapy based on each tumor’s molecular subtype. The company’s first product, FoundationOne, is a genomic profile that identifies a patient’s individual molecular alterations and matches them with relevant targeted therapies and clinical trials.

Foundation Medicine and Clovis Oncology will analyze the genomic alterations found in tissue samples from patients to evaluate the feasibility of developing an in-vitro diagnostic method to identify patients who have tumors more likely to respond to rucaparib. The team aims to identify additional genetic mutations associated with defective DNA repair and may define appropriate tumor targets for rucaparib.

The drug is currently in a phase 1/phase 2 clinical trial with 122 breast and ovarian cancer patients. The trial is being conducted in three sites in the U.S., and one site in the U.K.

The companies say their collaboration has the potential to increase the percentage of high-grade ovarian cancer patients eligible for rucaparib therapy from the 15 percent typically found to have BRCA mutations to an estimated 40 to 50 percent who have DNA repair deficiencies caused by somatic mutations — changes in DNA that occur after conception — in a variety of genes.

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