Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and OPKO Health Collaborate on Genomics

  • New Tumor Sequencing Panel Aims to Improve Patient Care and Accelerate Discovery

MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- OPKO Health, Inc. (NYSE:OPK) announced today a collaboration among its subsidiary, BioReference Laboratories, Inc., the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) to leverage large scale genomics testing for optimal cancer care. Each of the organizations has committed to providing its complementary expertise with the goal of introducing genomic testing that is cost effective and increases patient accessibility to the newest cancer therapies.

VUMC is recognized nationally for clinical and management excellence by such organizations as U.S. News and World Report, Leapfrog, and Truven (formerly Thomson Reuters) Top 100 Hospitals. VICC, a NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, is a recognized leader in precision medicine with active clinical trials involving biomarker assessment. BioReference Laboratories, through its business units, GenPath Oncology and GeneDx, has extensive experience in next-generation sequencing (NGS) in oncology.

The first initiative in this multi-year collaboration is a 300+ gene NGS panel for solid tumors and hematologic malignancies that will be available in early 2016 for clinical care. The panel design was jointly developed by VICC/VUMC pathologists, oncologists, and cancer researchers and scientists at BioReference Laboratories. This NGS assay will target single nucleotide variants, insertions and deletions, copy number variants, and gene fusions specifically in genomic areas that are druggable.

“Cancer treatment has been revolutionized through the use of advanced diagnostics identifying biomarkers that allow individualized treatment plans to improve patient care. We saw a unique opportunity to connect Vanderbilt’s clinical expertise with BioReference’s NGS capabilities in order to develop sensitive and clinically useful genomic solutions. The collaborative academic-industry partnership will benefit patients at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, our regional hospitals and patients worldwide,” said Mary Zutter, M.D., Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Integrative Diagnostics at Vanderbilt.

“Our collaboration with Vanderbilt accelerates the utilization of genomic testing into clinical care, fosters clinical trial recruitment and enables scientific discovery in cancer genetics,” stated Marc D. Grodman, M.D., CEO of BioReference Laboratories. “Genomic testing has clearly been shown to be clinically useful in patient management, but is often cost prohibitive. We will provide cost effective testing that is able to be run on small samples. Vanderbilt has a long tradition of cutting-edge genomic solutions and an extensive clinical trial network in precision medicine that we will be able to further support through this collaboration. In addition, our advanced genomic testing will enhance Vanderbilt’s translational efforts in the fields of drug discovery and efficacy.”

Through this collaboration, scientists are working on several other diagnostic assays to equip clinicians with the genetic knowledge they need to treat patients. “We see unmet needs for genomic solutions in areas such as detecting drug resistance markers in plasma and panel based minimal residual disease monitoring. The collaboration allows each organization to bring a highly specialized skill set together with the shared vision of accelerating the development of clinically useful testing,” said Robert Daber, Ph.D., Vice President of Genomic Operations, Development and Director of Cancer Genomics at BioReference Laboratories.

This press release contains "forward-looking statements," as that term is defined under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA), which statements may be identified by words such as "expects," "plans," "projects," "will," "may," "anticipates," "believes," "should," "intends," "estimates," and other words of similar meaning, including statements regarding expected benefits of the collaboration with Vanderbilt, that BioReference’s array of genomics data will prove valuable in enhancing drug discovery and clinical trial programs, whether the NGS panel for solid tumors and hematologic malignancies will be available in early 2016 for clinical care, whether the utilization of genomic testing in clinical care will foster trial recruitment and enable scientific discovery in cancer genetics, as well as other non-historical statements about our expectations, beliefs or intentions regarding our business, technologies and products, financial condition, strategies or prospects. Many factors could cause our actual activities or results to differ materially from the activities and results anticipated in forward-looking statements. These factors include those described in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the risks inherent in funding, developing and obtaining regulatory approvals of new, commercially-viable and competitive products and treatments. In addition, forward-looking statements may also be adversely affected by general market factors, competitive product development, product availability, federal and state regulations and legislation, the regulatory process for new products and indications, manufacturing issues that may arise, patent positions and litigation, among other factors. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date the statements were made, and we do not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements. We intend that all forward-looking statements be subject to the safe-harbor provisions of the PSLRA.

OPKO Health, Inc.
Tara Mackay, 305-575-4100
Investor Relations,
Rooney & Associates
Terry Rooney, 212-223-0689
Marion Janic, 212-223-4017
Anne Marie Fields, 212-838-3777
Bruce Voss, 310-691-7100

Source: OPKO Health, Inc.