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Epic Sciences Gets Phase II SBIR Grant for Lung Cancer Assay Development

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Epic Sciences today said that it has received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research award from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health to develop a lung cancer assay.

The test would identify and characterize circulating tumor cells in lung cancer patients.

The contract follows a Phase I SBIR grant, under which Epic developed a "clinically useful and commercially relevant method for identifying and enumerating CTCs." Under the new award, the San Diego-based firm will finalize the diagnostic test and validate it clinically in patients with suspected lung cancer.

Epic said that the Phase I and II grants together provided the firm with $1.2 million.

"The lungs are sensitive and difficult tissues to access for biopsies and, as a result, many patients lack adequate biopsy material for diagnostic testing," David Nelson, president and CEO of Epic Sciences, said in a statement. "A blood test for lung cancer could provide a better tolerated, less risky, and more effective strategy for diagnosing lung cancer patients."

Nelson also noted that the test also will be designed to characterize circulating tumor cells to help guide personalized treatment options.

Privately held Epic recently raised $13 million in a Series B financing round.