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Boston Gene, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Form Research Collaboration

NEW YORK — BostonGene said Tuesday that it has partnered with the nonprofit Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) to investigate the molecular underpinnings of patient responses to immuno-oncology drugs and identify blood-based biomarkers that could help guide treatment.

Through the collaboration, BostonGene will analyze longitudinal blood samples from a prospective clinical study at PICI — dubbed resistance drivers for immuno-oncology patients interrogated by harmonized molecular dataset, or RADIOHEAD — in which roughly 1,200 pan-cancer patients received standard-of-care immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment regimens.

BostonGene said it will use an immunoprofiling approach that combines flow cytometry and RNA sequencing to track changes in the blood that can be correlated with genetic variations from germline DNA testing to reveal blood-based signatures of immunotherapy response, resistance, and toxicity.

The findings could potentially help personalize treatments for cancer patients, the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company said.

Earlier this month, BostonGene partnered with Japan's Saga University to discover biomarkers for immunotherapy treatment response and treatment-related toxicity in advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients. The company struck a similar deal focusing on rare tumors with Prisma Health in January.

About a year ago, San Francisco-based PICI began working with Guardant Health to use data from the RADIOHEAD study to assess the correlation between molecular cancer biomarkers and patient response to immunotherapy across multiple cancer types.