Cash injection for innovative ctDNA cancer diagnostics

Clinical cancer genomics company Inivata – a spin off from Cancer Research UK – has secured £4 million to develop its circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) analysis technology.

Diagnosis using ctDNA is an innovation in cancer detection and monitoring, particularly in cases where a large percentage of tumours cannot be sampled. It offers prospects for truly personalised healthcare, with the possibility of providing doctors with data on a patient’s specific tumour from a single blood test, enabling them to tailor treatment to the individual.

Several pharma companies are working in this field, including AstraZeneca, which has partnered with Roche and Qiagen on diagnostic tests for non-small-cell lung cancer.

The Inivata funding round was led by Imperial Innovations, along with Cambridge Innovation Capital and Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation.

Through developing ctDNA analysis, the company hopes to improve cancer testing and treatment in collaboration with clinical oncologists at prominent academic institutions, leading community treatment centres and innovative biopharmaceutical companies.

Inivata’s technology platform includes its proprietary, enhanced TAm-Seq technology. TAm-Seq, which is licensed to Inivata from Cancer Research Technology and the University of Cambridge, allows the detection and analysis of genomic material from a cancer patient’s cell-free ctDNA collected through routinely accessible blood samples. This non-invasive liquid biopsy approach offers a revolution in how cancer is detected, monitored and treated.

Inivata’s founders are recognised leaders in the clinical genomics and ctDNA fields, having developed pioneering ctDNA and novel treatment approaches in Cancer Research UK-funded laboratories at the University of Cambridge.

Michael Stocum, CEO of Inivata, said: “There is major focus on ctDNA analysis which promises the ability to improve monitoring and treatment of cancer based on information from routine blood samples. We are taking a collaborative approach to the development of clinical applications for ctDNA analysis which have the potential to transform how the disease is understood and treated.

“Nitzan Rosenfeld and his team are leaders in the field. I am excited to be working with our scientific founders, and with this significant fund raising secured we are now focused on working with pharmaceutical, clinical and academic partners to identify applications and rapidly realise the potential of the enhanced TAm-Seq approach.”

Keith Blundy, Cancer Research Technology CEO and Inivata board member, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in taking this promising technology developed by Cancer Research UK scientists to the next level. Developing technologies that allow clinicians to monitor how tumours respond to treatment non-invasively and in real-time forms a crucial part of Cancer Research UK’s commitment to deliver the promise of precision cancer medicine to patients.”


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