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Biocartis to Develop EGFR Mutation Test to Further Home in on Best Responders to EGFR Inhibitors

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Molecular diagnostics firm Biocartis today announced that it has licensed from Hospital del Mar in Spain the rights to an EGFR biomarker for colon cancer.

The Lausanne, Switzerland-based firm plans to develop an EGFR mutation test that can help doctors further refine the best responder population among colon cancer patients receiving EGFR inhibitors.

Researchers led by Hospital del Mar's Clara Montagut have shown in studies that colon cancer patients harboring an S492R EGFR mutation don't respond to Bristol-Myers Squibb/Lilly's EGFR inhibitor Erbitux (cetuximab). However, Montagut and colleagues also found that this tumor mutation doesn't hinder patients' response to another EGFR inhibitor, Amgen's Vectibix (panitumumab).

"Only panitumumab was able to bind to cells expressing the S492R EGFR mutation," Montagut and her colleagues wrote last year in a paper published in Nature Medicine.

Based on this research, the license agreement allows Biocarts to develop a colon cancer test that gauges this mutation. "This new biomarker enables us to develop a unique combination of tests for the detection of colon cancer," Geert Maertens, chief scientific officer at Biocartis, said in a statement.

Both of these drug's labels indicate them for patients who don't have KRAS gene mutations, which also limit patients' ability to respond to treatment. A test such as the one being developed by Biocartis could help doctors further determine which KRAS wild-type patients would respond best to Erbitux or Vectibix.