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Biocartis Granted $1.5M to Develop Liquid Biopsy Version of KRAS, BRAF Tests

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Belgian MDx Firm Biocartis announced today that it has received a €1.4 million ($1.5 million) grant from the Flemish Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT) to support the development of liquid biopsy versions of its solid tumor BRAF and KRAS diagnostics for melanoma and colorectal cancer.

The funds, made as part of an IWT-subsidized collaboration project called Early Diagnosis by Easy Sampling, will also support more general research on improved liquid biopsy methodologies, the company said.

As a member of this larger collaboration, Biocartis will partner with University of Brussels spin-off PharmaFluidics, the Research Institute for Chromatography, Antwerp University Hospital, and the Flemish Institute for Technological Research, to investigate not only circulating tumor DNA, but also other cell components in blood that may potentially contain cancer-specific genetic information that is useful for molecular diagnostic testing.

"Contrary to the currently more cumbersome, time-consuming, and costly methods where tumor biopsy tissue is used, liquid biopsy technology has the potential to offer huge diagnostic and treatment benefits," Biocartis CEO Rudi Pauwels said in a statement.

Biocartis received CE-IVD marking for its tissue-based KRAS Mutation Test this June, and for its Idylla diagnostics platform and BRAF Mutation Test in 2014.