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Personalis, AstraZeneca Extend Collaboration Around Residual Cancer Detection Test

NEW YORK – Personalis said Tuesday that it is continuing a collaboration with AstraZeneca to explore the cancer sequencing firm's NeXT Personal molecular residual disease (MRD) test in clinical research and drug development. 

The two companies are evaluating the sensitivity and specificity of whole-genome-informed circulating tumor DNA testing that supports both residual disease detection and assessment of clinically relevant mutations that may be used to guide future therapy decision-making.

According to Personalis, the intent is to provide MRD detection, on-treatment therapy resistance tracking, and better differentiation between responders and non-responders in the drugmaker's clinical trials, as well as to investigate novel underlying mechanisms that drive cancers.

The company said one trial covered by the partnership, called CALLA, will investigate the role of ctDNA and HPV detection in locally advanced cervical cancer. Other specifics, including financial details, were not disclosed.

"Personalis designed NeXT Personal to provide ultra-high sensitivity and specificity for MRD detection. Our whole-genome, tumor-informed approach improves ctDNA measurement even when the plasma tumor fraction is exceptionally low, which is the case in multiple cancers with low mutational burden," CEO Christopher Hall said in a statement.

"We are pleased that AstraZeneca is prioritizing such sensitivity, with the aim of enabling earlier and more personalized interventions for patients," he added.