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Castle Biosciences, a recently formed, rapidly growing, biomarker based cancer diagnostics company, has signed an option agreement for a license agreement with The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
“In September we announced our intention to build a molecular diagnostics company that would passionately focus on serving patients with underserved orphan cancers with the intent to provide oncologists with diagnostic information that assists them in adjusting treatment plans based upon the likelihood of an individual patient’s response to treatment – with the ultimate goal of improving their patient’s outcome. This option agreement is the first step towards the implementation of our business,” said Derek Maetzold, President and CEO.
Oncologists know that following surgery some patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) have sustained responses to the standard of care radiation plus temozolomide treatment while other patients do not.
Today, unfortunately, there are no validated diagnostic tools to assist the oncologist in prospectively understanding how a specific patient might do. As a result, all patients with GBM receive the same treatment plan – a one size fits all approach.
This diagnostic test, developed and validated at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center with early collaborations from other leading US institutions, brings the potential to prospectively stratify a given patient’s likelihood to respond to standard treatment based upon the cancer’s genetic footprint. Armed with this information, an oncologist and their patient should be able to formulate a more customized treatment plan that is based upon the likelihood of the patient’s response to the standard of care treatment.
Specific details on the diagnostic test will be forthcoming in the near future.
GBM is the most prevalent and aggressive form of primary brain cancer. The incidence of this cancer has been increasing with estimates ranging from 15,000 – 21,000 new cases diagnosed per year. GBM is a particularly aggressive cancer with first-line standard of care treatment providing an average survival length of just over 14 months from the time of diagnosis. However, it is well recognized among neuro-oncologists that some patients benefit significantly from first-line standard of care treatment with stable disease and median life expectancy greater than 3 years while other patients appear to be refractory to this same first-line treatment with a median life expectancy of around 6 months. It is believed that the genetic make-up, or footprint, of the GBM tumor holds the key to prospectively understanding the likelihood of response to first-line treatment. This aggressive cancer received increased public attention earlier this year with the announcement that Senator Edward Kennedy has been diagnosed with GBM.
ABOUT CASTLE BIOSCIENCES INC
Castle Biosciences is a biomarker based cancer diagnostics company that is committed to bringing the promise of personalized medicine to underserved orphan diseases. We are focusing our efforts in aggressive, underserved orphan cancer markets where we hope to assist the oncologist in achieving greater outcomes for their patients by providing them with diagnostic information that aids their decision making. We also believe that the high concentration of oncologists managing orphan cancers will allow us to efficiently and effectively serve our customers’ needs.
We intend to accomplish our objectives by identifying, in-licensing, developing, validating, and commercializing multiple prognostic molecular diagnostic assays that have been developed at leading institutions around the United States.