Research
Sector Report

Q1 2021: Liquid biopsies under the microscope

  • Multi Asset
  • Healthcare
  • Global

Liquid biopsies are a fast-emerging substitute for tissue-based approaches, historically the “gold standard” for cancer diagnosis and treatment planning. On the basis that tumors shed genetic material, their aim is to capture as much information as possible without the need for invasive tissue collection. Crucially, by detecting mutations much earlier and having a better understanding of genetic changes, it is hoped that many more lives will be saved every year.

Although still a relatively nascent field, breakthroughs are accelerating, with FDA approvals accumulating steadily. The latest are in companion diagnostics (CDx), with FoundationOne Liquid CDx and Guardant360 approved for people with any solid cancer. CDx tests are performed to ascertain what cancer treatment will have the best response in a patient. While the FDA has approved blood tests that detect the presence of a single gene mutation in tumor DNA, these were the first approved blood tests that check for multiple cancer-related genetic changes.5https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2020/fda-guardant-360-foundation-one-cancer-liquid-biopsy#:~:text=FDA%20approved%20Guardant360%20CDx%20on,that%20have%20been%20proven%20accurate “That was a huge event in the liquid biopsy field, because it was the first time the FDA approved comprehensive tests,” an executive at Boudicca Dx LLC told Third Bridge Forum. The specialist expects more companion diagnostics breakthroughs now that Guardant Health and Foundation Medicine have laid the path. 

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