Bio Nebraska Members Included in Collaboration to Evaluate Cancer Early Detection Technology

Press Release from Grail, a member of Bio Nebraska

Bio Nebraska Members Grail, Amgen, and Bristol Myers Squibb Included in Collaboration to Evaluate Cancer Early Detection Technology for Minimal Residual Disease

MENLO PARK, Calif., January 11, 2021 — GRAIL, Inc., a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer early, today announced collaborations with global biopharmaceutical companies Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/Nasdaq: AZN), and Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) to evaluate GRAIL’s methylation-based technology for the detection of minimal residual disease (MRD).  

Cancer MRD testing is used in clinical and research applications to detect the presence or absence of residual disease. Many MRD tests available today for solid tumors require tissue samples and development of patient-specific assays, which contributes to longer turnaround times and potential delay in treatment decisions. GRAIL’s targeted methylation platform could enable a blood-based MRD detection assay for solid tumors that perform comparably to bespoke tissue-based assays, while reducing complexity and processing times. 

“GRAIL has developed and validated a novel approach to detect early cancer signals in blood and now we are excited to collaborate with leading companies Amgen, AstraZeneca, and Bristol Myers Squibb to evaluate the benefits of using our technology to find minimal residual disease after treatment or to detect early recurrent cancers,” said Joshua Ofman, MD, MSHS, GRAIL chief medical officer and head of external affairs. “Cancer never quits, making the detection of residual disease and early recurrences critical to helping patients and care providers stay ahead of the disease.”

“Amgen is pleased to partner with GRAIL to understand how this technology can provide deeper insights into tumor biology and a patient’s prognosis,” said Narimon Honarpour, vice president, Translational Medicine, Amgen. “Achieving better clinical outcomes relies upon our understanding of cancer progression and the field needs more robust testing capabilities.”

“Research has shown that we can improve outcomes across cancer types by treating patients as early as possible and intervening early if cancer recurs, which underpins our strategy,” said Carl Barrett, vice president, Translational Science, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca. “This collaboration with GRAIL will allow us to test a promising approach for monitoring MRD and detecting recurrence – tools that will provide critical information that we hope can optimize patient treatment plans.”

“We are committed to leveraging the latest science and technologies to bring continued innovation to the healthcare community and patients we serve,” said Sarah Hersey, vice president, Precision Medicine, Translational Medicine, Bristol Myers Squibb. “Our collaboration with GRAIL and other leaders in the industry will help enhance our ability to address the outstanding challenges of detecting and treating cancer head-on.”