When I joined Foundation Medicine as the Chief Scientific Officer nearly a year ago, my mission was twofold: I wanted to get closer to patients, both as a scientist and as a researcher; and I wanted to work with my team to develop breakthroughs that profoundly impact patient care by reaching them at the earliest stages of their treatment journey through the various treatment decisions cancer patients and their providers make throughout the care continuum.
Since joining Foundation Medicine, I’ve worked with my incredibly talented team to help evolve the direction of our Research and Development strategy for the next exciting stage of innovation in oncology -- looking for ways to apply our deep genomic expertise in creating new approaches to advancing cancer care. In addition to tumor profiling, we feel evaluation of disease evolution in circulation is key to this advancement, as it pairs broad, tumor-based genomic assessments with the ability to serially monitor disease in a minimally invasive way to garner genomic insights about a patient’s cancer over time- whether it be as a marker of minimal residual disease post surgery in early disease, a marker of molecular relapse, a medium to inform tumor evolution and resistance to therapies at disease progression, or providing oncologists with early insight into whether a treatment is working for a particular patient.
This is why our acquisition of Lexent Bio is such an important and exciting step for us; it reinforces Foundation Medicine’s promise to continue advancing the science for patients and our mission to fundamentally transform the way cancer is treated and patient care is managed. Lexent Bio is a precision oncology company developing novel liquid biopsy platforms to advance cancer care, that will accelerate our research and development strategy and expand our multiomics capabilities, including the adoption of DNA methylation, which can reveal important aspects of underlying cancer biology so oncologists can identify patients at high risk of disease progression, allowing them to intervene sooner and improve outcomes in earlier stages of disease.1, 2
Our portfolio of diagnostic tests provides deep and actionable genomic insights into what’s driving a patient’s cancer, and therefore identifying whether a patient may be eligible for targeted therapies, immunotherapies or clinical trials. We’re incredibly proud of the work we’re already doing with existing partners to bring disease monitoring capabilities to clinical care, and look forward to expanding our genomic expertise to provide oncologists and our partners in drug development with more insight that ultimately unlocks more options for patients.
My hope is that one day, patients won’t need to wait three months for a scan to determine if a treatment is working for them or if they are at a high risk of relapse. The science is there, breakthroughs are possible, and I believe we’re on the verge of a true turning point for patients.
With this acquisition, we are fortunate to welcome a team of talented innovators who share our problem-solving, science-first mindset. Transforming cancer care for each patient requires collaboration and a steadfast commitment to provide more options and better care. This integration of two companies and teams is an example of this philosophy in action. In the near term, we are accelerating our R&D pipeline, and aiming to provide our biopharma partners the ability to streamline clinical trials and uncover rich insights into the evolution of disease with serial patient sampling. In the long term, our goal is to develop a novel liquid biopsy test that physicians can use to identify disease progression or risk of relapse earlier, and with more precision than ever before.
This, along with our existing portfolio of diagnostic tests such as FoundationOne CDx and FoundationOne Liquid, will enable us to realize our ultimate goal of informing the entire patient journey with robust tools that guide treatment decisions for patients and their physicians.
More about Lexent Bio can be found here:
Posters and Publications:
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
1 Koch, A., Joosten, S.C., Feng, Z. et al. Analysis of DNA methylation in cancer: location revisited. Nat Rev Clin Oncol 15, 459–466 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41571-018-0004-4
2 Michalak, E.M., Burr, M.L., Bannister, A.J. et al. The roles of DNA, RNA and histone methylation in ageing and cancer. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 20, 573–589 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41580-019-0143-1