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Quest Diagnostics, Scipher Medicine Collaborate on Rheumatoid Arthritis Test

NEW YORK – Quest Diagnostics and Scipher Medicine on Tuesday announced a collaboration around diagnostic services for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Under the terms of the agreement, Quest will provide RNA extraction and next-generation sequencing services for Scipher's PrismRA test, a blood-based molecular assay for predicting patient response to TNF inhibitors, a common first-line treatment for RA. Quest will also provide specimen collection and transport.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

According to the companies, TNF inhibitors are ineffective in roughly one of three RA patients, leading to wasted healthcare spending and delays in obtaining effective treatment.

Waltham, Massachusetts-based Scipher profiles roughly two dozen RNAs, combining them with patient data and results from anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide testing to identify individuals unlikely to respond to TNF inhibitor treatment. Under the collaboration, Quest will extract and sequence RNA for the test at its Marlborough, Massachusetts, laboratory.

"Our collaboration with Scipher delivers on Quest's strategy and investments in genomics, particularly next-generation sequencing, and scale in blood-specimen logistics," Mark Gardner, senior VP of molecular genomics and oncology at Quest, said in a statement. "With these differentiated assets, Quest is empowering clinical innovators like Scipher to fulfill the potential of precision medicine to benefit large, underserved patient populations."

"We are excited to work with Quest Diagnostics to provide patients access to our PrismRA test," Scipher Medicine CEO Alif Saleh said in a statement. "This relationship will significantly expand the availability and make an impact on patients suffering from RA."