NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Insight Genetics today announced that it has won a $200,000 contract from the National Cancer Institute to develop a lung cancer companion diagnostic on its PCR-based technology.
The Phase I Small Business Innovation Research contract from NCI will be used by Insight to further validate its Insight ALK Screen real-time PCR-based test using specimens from patients with lung cancer. The technology detects cancer-causing fusions and mutations of anaplastic lymphoma kinase, which have been demonstrated to have a pathogenic role in many cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and anaplastic large cell lymphoma, Nashville, Tenn.-based Insight said.
About 5 percent to 10 percent of lung cancers are caused by ALK mutations, it added, and several drug firms are developing ALK-inhibitor therapies.
Under the NCI contract, Insight will determine the reproducibility and accuracy of its Insight ALK Screen and show whether it can be used in clinical settings and "in concert with ALK-inhibitor medications," the company said.
Insight ALK Screen is being developed and validated in collaboration with Stephan Morris of St. June Children's Research Hospital.
Insight was one of four firms that was selected to get funding from NCI as part of a solicitation called "Companion Diagnostics: Predictive and Prognostic Tests Enabling Personalized Medicine in Cancer Therapy." Upon completion of the Phase I contract, Insight can apply for a Phase II SBIR contract for up to $1.5 million to complete the commercialization of the assay.