Bristol-Myers Squibb and Foundation Medicine have announced a collaboration that leverages Foundation Medicine’s comprehensive genomic profiling and molecular information solutions to identify predictive biomarkers such as Tumor Mutational Burden (TMB) and Microsatellite Instability (MSI) in patients enrolled across clinical trials investigating Bristol-Myers Squibb’s cancer immunotherapies. Biomarkers can be used to characterize a tumor and the tumor microenvironment, which may reveal immune-related mechanisms predictive of how a patient may respond to immunotherapy.
Cancer immunotherapy works by helping the immune system mount an anti-cancer response, a process that depends in part on the recognition of cancer-specific proteins called neoantigens. Higher levels of tumor mutations have been shown to correlate to the number of neoantigens, and therefore may help identify patients more likely to respond to cancer immunotherapies. Foundation Medicine’s approach utilizing its FoundationOne® assay combines comprehensive genomic profiling with its advanced and proprietary algorithms to measure biomarkers, including TMB and MSI, without the need for whole exome sequencing.
“Translational medicine research is critical to further our understanding of cancer biology and to identify which patient populations are most likely to derive benefit from our Immuno-Oncology agents,” said Fouad Namouni, M.D., head of Development, Oncology, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “We believe this collaboration with Foundation Medicine will help us better understand the relation of genomic approaches to immunotherapy efficacy across a number of different tumor types and immunotherapy agents.”
“Cancer immuno-therapy is evolving rapidly, and biopharmaceutical companies and practicing oncologists alike may benefit from a reliable, validated, comprehensive view of mutational burden and genomic alterations to make the most informed care decisions,” said Melanie Nallicheri, chief business officer and head, Biopharma for Foundation Medicine. “Our collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb highlights the potential value of our molecular information platform to the biopharma industry for its ability to inform, to reduce risk and to accelerate clinical development in this high growth and highly competitive oncology field.”