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Oxford BioDynamics’s Checkpoint Inhibitor Response Test (EpiSwitch CiRT) Now Available in the UK

Oxford BioDynamics Plc , a biotechnology company developing precision medicine tests for immune health based on the EpiSwitch 3D genomics platform, has announced that its flagship Checkpoint inhibitor Response Test (CiRT) clinical blood test is now available to private physicians considering ICI therapy for their patients in the UK.

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The first-of-its-kind EpiSwitch CiRT blood test predicts the likelihood of a cancer patient’s response to the widely used class of therapeutics – ICIs – including anti-PD-L1 and anti-PD-1 immunotherapies. Using a routine blood test, rather than an invasive biopsy, CiRT provides fast, personalized guidance for a physician on expected efficacy, enabling a more considered decision whether to begin or continue treatment.

The robust EpiSwitch qPCR blood test has demonstrated best-in-class performance, with high sensitivity (93%), specificity (82%), accuracy (85%), and a significant negative predictive value (NPV) of 93% [1], across several ICIs from multiple pharmaceutical companies and more than 15 key oncological indications, including melanoma and lung cancer.

This expansion to the UK follows encouraging early uptake by early adopters of EpiSwitch CiRT in the US where it was first launched in February 2022 as a Laboratory Developed Test (LDT). The CiRT will initially be available as an LDT to private healthcare providers in the UK. It is only available to registered physicians.

An estimated 2.9 million people were living with cancer in the UK in 2020, a prevalence rate expected to rise to 4 million by 2030 (Macmillan Cancer Support). It is estimated that around 350,000 people are diagnosed each year, amounting to over 1,000 new cases per day (Cancer Research UK).

Despite the potential powerful efficacy of ICIs [2], it has been estimated that they are ineffective for up to 70% of patients treated. The situation is exacerbated by ICIs being some of the most highly priced medicines in the world. The bestselling ICI in the UK has a list price of £84,000 per patient course for the drug alone.

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The UK’s NHS and private healthcare systems could save significant amounts, estimated to be close to £1bn, by avoiding or reducing the administration rate of ineffective treatments, through straightforward personalised testing. Savings for the US healthcare system could amount to more than $10bn.

Dr Geoff Higgins, Honorary Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Immune checkpoint inhibitors are a great advancement in cancer therapy but since many patients do not respond, and as treatment can frequently cause significant side effects, there is a pressing need for robust biomarkers of response. The current standard of PD-L1 IHC lacks the accuracy that many oncologists desire. There is a significant unmet clinical need to better predict response to ICIs for which EpiSwitch CiRT promises to be a valuable addition.”

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Dr Simon Lord, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, commented: “There are significant limitations with current routine PDL-1 IHC testing processes not being highly discriminatory in terms of benefits for certain patients for which immunotherapy is indicated. EpiSwitch CiRT has the potential to address this testing issue with the introduction of a specific and accurate IO [immuno-oncology] response test. There is a great advantage in having a liquid biopsy tool which is less invasive than tumour sampling and can be reassessed in a longitudinal fashion, whilst on treatment at multiple timepoints.”

CEO of OBD, Jon Burrows, added: “We understand that in order to provide the best-quality care for cancer patients, clinicians should be able to base their decision of therapy choice on meaningful and accurate data. We have already seen in the US that a simple blood test, such as the CiRT, that can predict the patient response to ICIs, could quickly become an essential tool for clinicians. We are proud to make this now available to UK patients, as well. While initially this is only available to private healthcare providers, we aim to widen availability through the NHS as well.”

OBD recently presented important clinical utility data at on the EpiSwitch CiRT clinical assay’s prediction of patient response to ICI therapies, at the American Society of Clinical Oncologists Annual Meeting (ASCO 2022) in Chicago, IL. The test was very well received by oncologists and health care providers from around the world [3]. OBD will be attending and continue to present new data at the ESMO Congress 2022 (Paris) from September 9 to 13, 2022.

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