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Sequenom, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf Collaborate on Liquid Biopsy

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Sequenom will collaborate with the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany to evaluate the clinical utility of a liquid biopsy assay in colorectal cancer, the firm said today.

Sequenom is currently developing a circulating tumor DNA research assay with an initial focus on the detection and molecular profiling of late stage non-hematologic malignancies in cases where tissues biopsies are not available or are too risky to obtain.

In collaboration with Germany's UKE, Sequenom will test the assay' ability to monitor response to treatment in later-stage colorectal cancer patients. UKE has been studying ctDNA and circulating tumor cells for years and is currently involved in a number of different clinical studies, Klaus Pantel, chairman in the department of tumor biology at UKE's Center of Experimental Medicine, said in a statement.

The Sequenom collaboration will "allow us to qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate somatic mutations in the blood of colorectal cancer patients, and monitor response to treatment in a non-invasive manner," he said.

Daniel Grosu, Sequenom's chief medical officer, said in a statement that the study with UKE will help "better understand the dynamic changes in circulating tumor DNA that accompany the use of various treatments in later-stage colorectal cancer, and the concordance between tumor tissue and plasma across a broad spectrum of genomic alterations."

Sequenom announced its intention to develop a ctDNA assay at the beginning of the year and this is the third clinical deal it has since struck with academic collaborators. Earlier this month, Sequenom announced a deal with Seoul National University Hospital, and in August, it said it would work with the University of California, San Diego.