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Nico, Kiyatec Partner to Improve Tissue Collection, Preservation for Glioma Test

NEW YORK – Nico and Kiyatec on Tuesday said they have formed a partnership to test tumor samples from patients with glioblastoma and gauge their responsiveness to therapies prior to beginning treatment.

Neuro-oncologists will be able to use Nico's Myriada tissue resection device and automated preservation system (APS) to collect and preserve tumor tissue, then send it to Kiyatec to test for drug-response using 3D Predict, a test based on Kiyatec's 3D cell culture platform. Kiyatec develops the samples into models of patients' tumors, treats them with drugs to gauge responsiveness, and sends a report back to the physicians to inform patients' care.

Kiyatec CEO Matthew Gevaert said that tissue samples resected with Nico's technology have increased long-term cell viability, enhancing prediction of patient-specific responses to therapy. In a study comparing tumor tissues collected with conventional methods to tissue collected using Nico's Myriada and APS, the latter was equivalent or superior in terms of long-term cell viability, RNA preservation, protein preservation, and live cell count.

"Imagine better tissue leading to more certainty of what drugs will work, or even more importantly, what drugs won't work in treating one of the most treatment-resistant cancers," Nico CEO Jim Pearson said in a statement. "This partnership is a step in the right direction for dramatically increasing the percentage of patients we can help with precision medicine."

Greenville, South Carolina-based Kiyatec started as a spinout of Clemson University's bioengineering department in 2011. Its 3D tumor models that Kiyatec uses to evaluate drug response replicate the tumor microenvironment, incorporating spatial relationships of cells. The company markets this drug response testing service to pharmaceutical companies for use in their drug discovery and development programs, but doctors can also order the 3D Predict assay to personalize treatments for high-grade glioma patients. Kiyatec is also conducting clinical studies of the assay in breast, lung, and rare tumors.

Kiyatec and Nico didn't disclose the financial terms of the deal.