Biofidelity and Agilent complete successful molecular assay study for rapid and accurate detection of key lung cancer mutations

Biofidelity Ltd, a company developing high performing novel molecular assays for the detection of targeted, low-frequency genetic mutations, today announced the successful completion of a study to detect key lung cancer mutations in collaboration with Agilent Technologies, a global leader in life sciences, diagnostics, and applied chemical markets.

The collaboration, using an assay developed by Biofidelity, demonstrated an improvement in sensitivity of 50 times that achieved with current FDA-approved PCR-based diagnostics, matching that of specialized NGS assays, which require error-correction technology, while providing a dramatic simplification of workflows from more than 100 steps, to just 4 (four). Assays were performed using standard laboratory instrumentation, demonstrating the potential for straightforward adoption of Biofidelity’s panels in decentralised testing laboratories around the world.

As well as extremely high sensitivity, 100% specificity was achieved in the detection of multiplexed panels of mutations from both tissue and plasma, with no false positives observed across more than 750 assays. Analysis of results is also dramatically simpler than sequencing-based assays, providing physicians a clear, simple, actionable result, with a turnaround time of less than 3 hours, making the Biofidelity assay suitable for recurrent patient monitoring.

Genetic testing for lung cancer mutations is usually carried out through invasive tissue biopsy, an expensive procedure carrying significant risk for patients with advanced disease. Up to 10% of such tests fail due to the lack of sensitivity of current testing solutions and poor sample quality.

Liquid biopsy, or testing directly from the patient’s blood, offers a non-invasive alternative with significant potential benefits to patients. However, its use has been limited by the lack of cost-effective, robust and rapid tests which are sufficiently sensitive to enable detection of the very small fractions of tumor DNA present in such samples.

Of the nearly 2 million new cases of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) diagnosed each year worldwide, fewer than 5% of patients receive high-sensitivity, non-invasive genetic testing. The assay developed by Biofidelity could provide a simple solution, enabling access to high-precision genetic testing for more than 1.7m new NSCLC patients every year with a test that outperforms DNA sequencing in a fraction of the time.

Work was supported by InnovateUK grant number 105202 as part of the Investment Accelerator: Innovation in Precision Medicine program.

Our goal is to improve patient outcomes in oncology by enabling much greater access to the highest precision diagnostic tests. This collaboration with Agilent in lung cancer has again demonstrated that Biofidelity’s molecular assays dramatically increase the effectiveness and speed of diagnosis, supporting early detection of disease, better targeting of therapies and improved patient monitoring. By combining diagnostic outperformance and rapid results in a simple, cost-efficient format using existing instrumentation, we believe we have the potential to bring high precision testing to many more NSCLC patients, substantially reducing the need for invasive biopsies.
Dr Barnaby Balmforth
Chief Executive Officer of Biofidelity

As both a scientific collaborator and an investor in the company, Agilent has been impressed by the data from Biofidelity’s assays, which detected a selection of NSCLC DNA mutations at extremely low frequencies in both tissue and plasma samples without the need for DNA sequencing. Biofidelity’s assays are specific and sensitive, with the potential to provide improved and rapid routine cancer diagnostics.
Tad Weems
Managing Director, Agilent Early Stage Partnerships