Executive at Natera Inc
- Recent trends and developments in the liquid biopsy and early cancer detection industry
- Assessment of Grail's Galleri multi-cancer early detection test
- Product differentiation, competitive advantages of varying assay types and M&A activity
- Outlook for H2 2021 and beyond
What major developments or trends in the oncology detection sector would you highlight since our last Forum Interview [see Liquid Biopsy Market Update – Recent M&A & Tier 2 Player Assessment – 4 March 2021]?
How and where will early oncology detection conceptually fit into the diagnostic paradigm? You described the early detection segment as somewhat tumultuous with a lot of the spotlight being taken from the recent M&A activity and there seems to be varying feedback on how tests will be used, particularly when thinking about target physicians who will be prescribing or utilising these tests. What needs to happen for utilisation to progress to where it needs to be?
You said the threshold for acceptance greatly differs across physician types but it’s also been suggested that the Grail data seems quite limited so far. What did you make of Grail’s PATHFINDER study data that was presented in June 2021? What were the most impressive or concerning areas of the data?
Can you elaborate on how Grail’s approach might need some tweaking? In our March 2021 Interview you said Grail’s overall strategy and early detection had gone through several iterations. It has been suggested that the data might be a result of the sequencing ability not being as strong as Guardant’s, where it would be somewhere within 15,000x whereas Grail sequences at 135x.
Grail’s Galleri launch has been somewhat confusing around the availability via the website and questions remain about potential pricing. What’s your take on the decision to proceed with a launch right now and how that launch has played out so far?
You’ve been quite critical of Grail and its approach, particularly when it comes to launch, but could you expand on the home test you mentioned earlier? If you’re currently engaged with the company we should avoid it given our compliance framework.
How might Exact Sciences’ acquisition of Thrive play out? You highlighted the proteomic and DNA analysis in our March 2021 Interview, and said there is potential for greater growth despite still significantly limited data. Has your outlook changed? How will Thrive compare here?
What is your take on ExosomeDx, particularly under the Bio-Techne umbrella? Last time you said it’s still a little unclear where ExosomeDx is and how universal its platform is.
Could you expand on Freenome’s approach or any concerns about the data that was recently presented?
What would you highlight about Guardant or any other relevant players?
Who has the potential to be the industry leader in the next couple of years, especially given your comments about criteria for success, strong data and some of the multiomic approaches potentially being the leading strategy in the segment?
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