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Exact Sciences And OncXerna Announce Licensing Agreement To Help Predict Immunotherapy Response For More Patients

Agreement grants a license to Exact Sciences for OncXerna’s Xerna™ TME Panel adding to its comprehensive tumor profiling solution, GEM ExTra®
Arrangement expands Exact Sciences’ ability to support immuno-oncology clinical development programs

Exact Sciences Corp. and OncXerna Therapeutics, Inc., a precision medicine company, announced they have entered an exclusive license agreement to bring OncXerna’s Xerna TME Panel lab services to more U.S. patients. The Xerna TME (tumor microenvironment) Panel is an innovative gene expression score that helps identify patients likely to respond to anti-angiogenic and immunotherapies. The agreement allows Exact Sciences to provide more critical answers to cancer patients and physicians facing difficult therapy selection decisions while supporting biopharma partners in patient selection for their therapeutic programs.

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“As the role of immunotherapy in cancer treatment grows, a critical unmet need among oncologists and healthcare professionals is being able to predict a patient’s response to specific drugs prior to starting treatment,” said Matt Franklin, general manager of Precision Oncology for Exact Sciences. “The immunotherapy prediction ability of OncXerna’s Xerna TME Panel, coupled with the comprehensive profiling capabilities of Exact Sciences’ GEM ExTra test, has the potential to significantly impact patient outcomes.”

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The Xerna TME Panel uses proprietary RNA-based gene expression data and a machine learning-based algorithm to classify patients based on the interplay between angiogenic and immunogenic dominant biologies of the TME. Early clinical evidence suggests that it may be the first RNA TME signature to predict immunotherapy benefit.1 Exact Sciences plans to offer the Xerna TME Panel as part of its GEM ExTra test, further enhancing its sequencing offerings. GEM ExTra includes a comprehensive whole exome genomic profile and deep transcriptome analysis to identify actionable alterations associated with targeted therapy benefit or resistance. The Xerna TME Panel will provide additional insights into the benefit of immunotherapy alone or in combination with other therapies from the same patient sample.

Laura Benjamin, CEO of OncXerna Therapeutics, commented, “With this licensing agreement, Exact Sciences can now expand their GEM ExTra offering beyond genomic and transcriptomic-profiling options and provide customers with an expression signature to analyze biologies that are relevant for emerging therapeutics from across the industry. OncXerna continues to use the Xerna TME Panel to support its two internal clinical programs and is pleased to make it available more broadly to accelerate additional advances in precision oncology.”


In the future, Exact Sciences expects to provide clinicians broad access to the Xerna TME Panel through its existing Precision Oncology team and to biopharma partners as a companion diagnostic.

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