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Caris Life Sciences, Essa Pharma Ink Liquid Biopsy Partnership for Prostate Cancer Trial

NEW YORK – Caris Life Sciences and Essa Pharma said on Thursday that they have teamed up to genetically characterize patients enrolled in a Phase I trial of Essa's investigational prostate cancer drug, EPI-7386.

For its part of the collaboration, Caris will use its blood-based whole transcriptome sequencing and whole exome sequencing tests to assess all 22,000 genes in each trial participants' DNA and RNA. The Phase I trial is assessing the safety and preliminary efficacy of EPI-7386, an N-terminal domain androgen receptor, in 64 patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer whose disease has progressed after standard-of-care treatment.

Essa plans to use longitudinal data from repeat testing using Caris' liquid biopsies to characterize patients' tumor biological profiles, which will "facilitate a more efficient development of EPI-7386 in patient tumor biological subpopulations," Essa CEO David Parkinson said in a statement. 

Although Essa is using Caris liquid biopsies to home in on the population of mCRPC most likely to respond to the agent according to genetic characterization, the primary endpoint of the trial is the percent of patients whose blood concentration of prostate-specific antigen declines by at least 50 percent at any point during treatment with EPI-7386.