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Foundation Medicine’s genetic tests match cancer patients to the best treatments

Foundation Medicine’s genetic tests match cancer patients to the best treatments
[Photo: The Voorhes]





The promise of precision medicine is becoming a reality in cancer treatment, where patients now routinely have tumors genomically tested before deciding on how to respond. Just over a year ago, Foundation Medicine received FDA approval for FoundationOne CDx, a test that analyzes tissue samples for alterations across 324 genes known to drive cancer, helping oncologists steer patients to immunotherapies, clinical trials, or genetically matched drugs made by partners. Foundation has worked with more than 50 biotech and pharma companies to develop and match patients to treatments, and lobbied insurers to cover the test. In March 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved coverage of FoundationOne CDx for eligible patients. The company is also awaiting FDA approval for a “liquid biopsy” that analyzes blood for 70 genes tied to cancer growth, allowing doctors to monitor treatment without doing invasive tissue sampling. Treatment is like “a chess game, a series of moves,” says chief medical officer Vincent Miller. “To know what to do next, you have to have the information at hand.” In July, drugmaker Roche paid $2.4 billion to fully acquire Foundation, on top of more than $1 billion it invested for a majority stake in 2015. The company plans to continue marrying Foundation’s 250,000 genomic profiles with clinical data to accelerate drug development and “start to tackle the harder cancers,” says Miller. “By learning from every patient, we can iterate faster.”

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