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Sequenom, UCSD Collaborate on Liquid Biopsy Assay Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Sequenom said today that it is collaborating with the University of California, San Diego in a clinical research study of its next-generation sequencing-based circulating tumor DNA assay.

Under the collaboration, UCSD's Moores Cancer Center will test the utility of the assay to profile ctDNA in blood to monitor cancer patients and assist in therapy selection.

Sequenom first announced it intended to develop a liquid biopsy assay in January and at the time said it had partnered with UCSD, but did not provide details of the assay.

The ctDNA assay will initially be designed for research use only in solid tumors and will cover over 100 cancer-related genes that are associated with a US Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment, included in professional society guidelines, linked to targeted therapies currently in clinical trials, or part of well-documented cancer pathways. The initial focus of the test will be on late-stage cancers where tissue biopsies are not available or are too risky to obtain.

"The ability to match patients to a growing list of treatments and to monitor their response by a simple blood draw promises to make a significant difference in the way we treat cancer patients at UC San Diego," Razelle Kurzrock, director of the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy & Clinical Trials Office at UCSD, said in a statement.

Sequenom said that the collaboration with UCSD would be the first in a series of collaborations with cancer centers worldwide that will use the ctDNA assay as part of their clinical research programs. The firm plans to bring the assay to market for use in patient care in 2016.