Session Synopsis: Liquid biopsies have the potential to bring precision medicine into the care of cancer patients for whom access to tissue is challenging. However, detecting tumor-specific DNA variants in blood samples presents challenges to the analytical validity and operational efficiency of these tests. This session will explore how leaders in the field are addressing these challenges to bring liquid biopsy to clinicians and their patients.
Session Chair Profile
Over the last 25 years, Frederic Pla has built and launched global businesses in medical diagnostics and devices, life sciences, and healthcare information technology, consistently delivering high growth and profitability through a blend of product innovation, strategic acquisitions, and successful turnarounds. Before joining Genomic Health, Frederic was the Vice President, Corporate Business Development, for Life Technologies, until its acquisition by Thermo Fisher. Frederic led many of the company’s internal and external growth initiatives, adding nearly $2.5 billion in yearly revenue through 30 acquisitions across areas such as diagnostics, food safety and animal health, bioinformatics and life sciences tools. Prior to joining Life Technologies, Fred held global managerial positions of increasing responsibilities at GE Healthcare, where he contributed to the formation and growth of GE’s $2.4 billion Healthcare IT business. Fred started his career in R&D, first at the NASA Glenn Research Center.
Ph.D., President & CEO, Epic Sciences
Dr. Prahalad is President and CEO of Epic Sciences, Inc. (EPIC), a venture backed company specializing in the detection and characterization of circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Prior to joining EPIC, Dr. Prahalad held various roles at Life Technologies Corporation, a global leader in reagents and instruments for biomedical research. His final role at Life Technologies was VP, Corporate Strategy. Prior to joining Life Technologies, Dr. Prahalad was VP of Business Development for Sequenom, Inc. Dr. Prahalad received his B.Sc. with Honors from the University of Michigan and Doctorate in Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology from Harvard University.
Actionable, Accurate and Accessible Liquid Biopsy
Liquid biopsies represent a quantum leap in patient care by alleviating the need for invasive tissue biopsy samples. However, reimbursed, standard of care tests must be actionable, accurate and accessible. The development of clinical grade diagnostics based on circulating tumor cells illustrates the opportunities and challenges for this emerging field.
Ph.D., Senior Director, Molecular Biology & Sequencing, Foundation Medicine
Geoff is currently leading the lab responsible for the research, development and optimization of clinically validated, targeted next-generation DNA and RNA sequencing assays to enable comprehensive genomic profiling of conventional formalin fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues and liquid biopsy samples from patients with cancer. Prior to joining Foundation, Geoff worked for Pacific Biosciences developing a single-molecule DNA sequencing system. Geoff received a BA degree from Cornell University in Cell Biology and a Ph.D. at Stanford University in Microbiology and Immunology where he researched the regulation of translation initiation by the Hepatitis C Virus IRES.
Development and Analytic Validation of a ctDNA Genomic Profiling Assay
Comprehensive Genomic Profiling of cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in liquid biopsy samples from patients with cancer can inform targeted therapy selection when standard-of-care tissue biopsies are unobtainable. Clinically focused assay development, thorough analytic validation and operational excellence are required to ensure delivery of actionable results during routine clinical care.
Ph.D., Chief Business Officer, Biodesix
Dr. Beresford is Chief Business Officer. His expertise includes leading groups that provide products and services to oncology-focused pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for identifying and commercializing companion diagnostics. Prior to joining Biodesix, Dr. Beresford held a number of senior management positions at Ventana Medical Systems and Roche Diagnostics (after the acquisition of Ventana by Roche in early 2008) including Vice President, General Manager of Translational Diagnostics. He received a Ph.D. in Immunology from the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University School of Medicine and was an Instructor and Junior Investigator at the Center for Blood Research at Harvard Medical School.
Discovering, Developing, Validating and Commercializing Liquid Biopsy Tests in Oncology
A combination of strong development, validation, pharmacoeconomics, and physician usage addressing unmet clinical needs drives strong payer adoption of solutions across the liquid biopsy field. This comprehensive approach is important for improving outcomes and quality of life for patients diagnosed with cancer. We will discuss the benefits of protein mass spectrometry, effective test development, and the use of effective testing algorithms in real-world clinical applications.