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Guardant Health, Pharma Firms to Develop 500-Gene Liquid Biopsy Panel

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Guardant Health announced today that it has created separate partnerships with AstraZeneca, Merck, Merck KGaA, and Pfizer to develop a new 500-plus-gene liquid biopsy panel for use in clinical trials and cancer drug and immunotherapy development.

The new panel will be the pharmaceutical industry's largest commercially available liquid biopsy panel, the company said. Guardant plans to use its Digital Sequencing platform and knowledge gained from its Guardant360 liquid biopsy test to create an expansive panel optimized for clinical and pre-clinical drug investigations.

The goal is to enable investigators to use a single blood draw to screen each patient for multiple clinical trial options, and to monitor tumor response and the evolution of tumor resistance in real time. The test will also support analysis of tumor mutational burden for use with immunotherapy trials.

The firm expects to release the panel in mid-2017, and plans to follow with a CLIA-certified version for its biopharma collaborators.

"With Guardant360, we have pushed our Digital Sequencing platform to the biological limits of DNA sequencing sensitivity. In a number of cases, we are now confidently detecting a single molecule of mutant circulating tumor DNA in a 10-mL tube of blood drawn from an advanced cancer patient," said Guardant Co-Founder and CEO Helmy Eltoukhy in a statement. "Now we are applying this same underlying technology to 10 times as many genomic targets in an effort to speed drug development. The result for which we are aiming is that effective drugs will get to market faster and help patients sooner."