Clinical services specialist Parexel has entered a strategic partnership with NeoGenomics, a cancer-centric genetic testing and research firm, with the intent to collaborate on ways to use genomics data to improve clinical trials and drug development. The collaboration will seek out ways to advance precision medicine in oncology clinical trials through the application of real-world genomic data to improve patient matching, trial design, site selection, clinical development and translational research.
A Parexel representative told Outsourcing-Pharma that the company had been on the hunt for a suitable genomics partner to help expand the company’s real-world data (RWD) offerings, and to inform feasibility and site-identification strategies relating to precision medicine oncology studies. After another project with NeoGenomics, the company realized they’d found a match.
“As a diagnostics lab that runs approximately 1m oncology tests annually, NeoGenomics was an attractive partner whose resources and expertise could be leveraged across multiple applications, including biomarker identification, patient stratification, site feasibility and patient recruitment, and matching patients to the right trials based on their genomic information,” they said.
Cancer researchers and drug developers are increasingly aware of the potential for genomics to impact their work, the representative told OSP, and the precise nature of the treatments requires identification of potential patients to match that precision.
“Identifying patients with specific genetic mutations is a difficult and laborious process, as many patients have not been screened for these mutations or, if they are, it is difficult to access their data,” they commented. “Having access to a large body of de-identified, genomic patient data enables us to identify geographic areas where patients are located and thus prioritize sites that would have a higher probability of enrolling eligible patients; the faster we identify and enroll patients, the sooner we can move forward with evaluating the investigative therapy and getting the answers we need about its safety and efficacy.”
The short-term goal of the partnership is to forge clinical-genomic data strategies with the potential to enhance Parexel’s site feasibility, clinical trial matching and biomarker identification capabilities. Longer-term goals, the representative said, include building analytical capabilities, including for rare diseases.
“Parexel’s partnership with NeoGenomics provides access to greater predictive modeling capabilities so that we can rapidly identify specific patients and connect them to clinical trials that provide them with the best potential for treatment, advance our understanding of their disease and identify the drug’s effects and potential benefits,” said Sy Pretorius, president of clinical development and chief medical officer at Parexel. “This collaboration supports our efforts to adopt more novel approaches in the identification of data populations for oncology studies while keeping the patient at the center of everything we do.”
According to the companies, the collaboration stands to empower pharma customers to execute evidence-based decisions on trial designs, diagnostics and drug repurposing, and to create external control arms using genomic data. The two partners are open to expanding the scope of the partnership, with possible additions including lab services and biomarker capabilities.