Bayer will offer testing with Veracyte’s RNA sequencing-based Afirma XA to identify underlying genomic drivers of thyroid cancer

Bayer and Veracyte today announced a new collaboration to advance the Precision Oncology Patient Identification Program in thyroid cancer. Through the program, Bayer will offer testing with Veracyte’s Afirma Xpression Atlas (XA) to identify underlying genomic drivers, including NTRK gene fusions, within patients’ tumors. The program will focus on patients with advanced or metastatic thyroid cancer that is radioactive iodine refractory (RAIR) who may potentially benefit from biomarker-driven therapies.

“Patients whose thyroid cancer contains actionable alterations and no longer responds to traditional radioactive iodine therapy now have targeted treatment options available to them. Our goal is to identify such patients so physicians can make more informed treatment decisions for their patients,” said Bhavesh Ashar, Senior Vice President, Head of U.S. Oncology at Bayer. “With its comprehensive ability to identify broad genomic alterations through its Afirma XA test and its widespread reach among physicians who diagnose thyroid cancer, Veracyte is an ideal collaborator for this program.”

The Afirma XA uses RNA whole-transcriptome sequencing to identify 905 DNA variants and 235 RNA fusions in 593 genes, including novel NTRK fusions, on fine needle aspirates taken from thyroid nodules or lymph nodes. Through this collaboration, Bayer will provide Afirma XA testing at no cost to all eligible patients when ordered by the physician, regardless of the final results and treatment decision. Additionally, physicians of patients found to harbor NTRK gene fusions as an underlying driver in their thyroid cancer will be alerted of the results. The companies anticipate the program to launch in the first quarter of next year.

“Our collaboration with Bayer will help ensure that all eligible thyroid cancer patients can be tested and identified for actionable genomic alterations – at no cost to them – so they may potentially benefit from biomarker-driven therapies,” said Bonnie Anderson, Veracyte’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “This is the first collaboration between the two companies, and we anticipate continued strategic programs to further precision oncology.”

Approximately 53,000 people in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with thyroid cancer this year. For most of these patients, the cancer is contained in the thyroid when diagnosed. However, in approximately 30% of cases, the cancer has metastasized – most often to the nearby lymph nodes. NTRK gene fusions, which may drive tumor growth in some cancers, are more common in patients with RAIR thyroid cancer (2.4%-12% of patients).

Source – BusinessWire

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