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Bolstering biomarker use
August 2017
by Ilene Schneider  |  Email the author
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GAITHERSBURG, Md.—Avant Diagnostics Inc., an oncology-focused company commercializing the proprietary Theralink phospho-protein biomarker platform across multiple cancers, plans to bring diagnostics for oncology to improve wellness and quality of life, according to the company’s newly appointed president and CEO, Dr. Philippe Goix. Avant, which is a healthcare-related information technology (IT) solutions company, specializes in biomarker tests that are being developed in the areas of oncology and neurology.
 
Goix, who brings to Avant a successful track record of product launches and commercial success in health IT, biomarker/diagnostics and commercial laboratory settings, explained, “Our vision is to demonstrate that precision medicine works and improves patient outcomes. We want to create and mine databases and follow patient flow through the ecosystem.”
 
He added, “For instance, in the case of pancreatic cancer, there is a lot of work to do but a lot of hope. The best thing to do is partner, do studies and add them to the pipeline.”
 
Goix, who most recently served as president and CEO of Prism Health Diagnostics Inc.—which he co-founded in late 2015 to establish ongoing wellness monitoring services as a business by delivering biomarker data to primary-care physicians and consumers—has raised more than $140 million in debt and equity capital in life-sciences companies. He also served as a research scientist at Stanford University, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Sandia Research Laboratory and Centre National de Recherche Scientifique in France.
 
In terms of partnering, Avant has acquired an exclusive option to license the patient-delivery technology platform of Genetic Health Solution, a functional medicine practice that specializes in the aggregation and analysis of advanced biomarker testing data to provide customized product recommendations for health optimization.
 
Both companies will attempt to build an oncology-focused personalized health optimization program to improve health outcomes for patients based upon the profiles of side effects of oncology drugs, combined with advanced blood biomarker monitoring. Together, the companies hope to establish a best-in-class personalized cancer patient management program that will enable physicians and patients to minimize drug side effects while bolstering overall health.
 
Avant is evaluating an initial Theralink product launch in breast cancer. It purpose is to focus on a specific treatment paradigm in which its proprietary assay can immediately impact a large population of patients whose current treatments are ineffective because of the insufficient biomarker testing methods available. Using the additional Theralink information, the patient population would receive a different prescription therapy that could lead to a well-defined improvement in outcomes, based upon the published literature.
 
Avant also announced positive clinical utility data with regard to confirmation of the clinical utility of the Theralink Pancreatic Cancer assay. An expanded 60-patient data study distinguished patients who will experience a five-year survival outcome following standard-of-care treatment regimens vs. those likely to experience significantly worse outcomes. The initial 40-patient study set was presented at The International Symposium on Pancreatic Cancer 2016. Avant is evaluating the commercial potential of this assay to assist physicians in making prescribing decisions, as well as helping pharmaceutical companies and research institutions to develop novel treatment paradigms for pancreatic cancer.
 
According to Dr. Vincent J. Picozzi, Jr., director of the pancreaticobiliary program at the Floyd & Delores Jones Cancer Institute at Virginia Mason Medical Center, “The ability to accurately predict which patients will respond to standard-of-care treatment, and equally importantly those who will not respond, may have a significant impact on oncologists’ prescribing habits in the challenging area of pancreatic cancer treatment. There is tremendous value in identifying patients less likely to respond to treatment early on, so that oncologists can move more rapidly to different treatment regimens that may have the potential to benefit patients earlier on in disease progression.”
 
Goix concluded: “The Theralink technology represents a uniquely valuable and wholly complementary tumor biomarker strategy to various biomarker techniques currently in use, including DNA sequencing. While we acknowledge the tremendous value that genomic information has added to the field of oncology, we believe Theralink potentially provides additional actionable personalized tumor information on the individual patient level. We believe this additional specificity delivers superior clinical utility for practitioners than genomic information alone, and may lead to improved treatment outcomes for patients.
 
“As a result, we intend to evaluate commercial opportunities to leverage this unique patient-centric approach using Theralink as a critical point of market entry. We intend to build personalized solutions that provide the necessary information for physicians to make real-time, best-in-class treatment recommendations as well as recommend wellness solutions designed to improve overall outcomes based upon personal functional clinical data.”
 
Code: E081720

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