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In Brief This Week: Lungevity, Grail, Mainz Biomed, Bayer, Scorpion, Caris Life Sciences

NEW YORK – Lungevity Foundation this week launched an online patient resource focused on lung cancers with rare mutations and fusions such as alterations in ROS1, MET, RET, NTRK, BRAF, and other genes. The patient gateway includes information tailored to lung cancers with these mutations, including treatment options, resources to locate specialists and resources, and a patient and caregiver support community. The resource joins Lungevity's other patient gateways for non-small cell lung cancer, including resources focused on EGFR-, ALK-, and KRAS-mutant lung cancers. 

Community Health Network and Grail said this week that they have begun a partnership offering Grail's Galleri multi-cancer early detection blood test to individuals at the Indianapolis-based healthcare system's more than 200 care sites. Primary care providers at select practices will offer the test to individuals at elevated risk for cancer, including those over the age of 50, as a complement to standard-of-care screening. 

Mainz Biomed said this week that it has enrolled the first patient in its ColoFuture study evaluating the firm's gene expression-based ColoAlert colorectal cancer home screening test. The test, which is already being commercialized across Europe, incorporates mRNA biomarkers to detect colorectal cancers and precancerous polyps based on stool samples. The ColoFuture study is enrolling participants who agree to provide stool samples in advance of colonoscopy. The goal of the study is to determine the test's sensitivity and specificity rates for colorectal cancer as compared to colonoscopy. Mainz Biomed plans to complete enrollment during the second half of this year and report study results in early 2023. 

Bayer said this week that it is opening a new research and innovation center at Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to house a center for precision molecular oncology research. The $140 million development will have 100 employees and provide space for R&D collaborations with internal partners such as BlueRock Therapeutics, Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, and Vividion Therapeutics, as well as external partners. 

Scorpion Therapeutics this week nominated STX-721 as a development candidate from its EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations program. The firm plans to submit an investigational new drug application for STX-721 to the US Food and Drug Administration in 2023. Scorpion hopes STX-721 will overcome skin and gastrointestinal toxicities associated with currently available EGFR exon 20 inhibitors for non-small cell lung cancer, which can lead to dose reductions or interruptions. Drugs currently approved in the US for NSCLC harboring an EGFR exon 20 mutation include Janssen's Rybrevant (amivantamab-vmjw) and Takeda's Exkivity (mobocertinib). 

Caris Life Sciences said this week that the Miami Cancer Institute has joined its Precision Oncology Alliance, a network of cancer centers that collaborate to advance precision oncology and biomarker-driven research. The network includes 69 cancer centers and academic institutions, which gain early access to the firm’s database and artificial intelligence platform. Members can also integrate with a growing portfolio of biomarker-directed trials sponsored by biopharma and can use Caris' CODEai database, which houses treatment information and clinical outcomes data for over 275,000 patients covering more than 1 million data points per patient. 

The California Assembly Health Committee voted this week to pass the California Cancer Care Equity Act (Senate Bill 987), which would expand access to specialized cancer care for Medi-Cal beneficiaries. The bill will now be considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. 

BCAL Diagnostics this week identified startup Precion as its laboratory partner as it advances efforts to commercialize a blood-based breast cancer test in the US. Sydney-based BCAL said last month that a lab in North Carolina would analyze samples based on lipid profiles of extracellular vesicles, but did not name the partner

In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared in Precision Oncology News.