An interview with Ted Snelgrove, Lexent Bio

As CBO at Lexent Bio, Ted is leveraging his hybrid experience in oncotherapeutics and molecular diagnostics to launch the Confera™ DX system for therapy response monitoring. He has deep experience in both sectors, having built and led the original commercial team at Genomic Health that created and launched the Oncotype® DX product line in 2004. Read his full bio.

Interview with Ted Snelgrove, Lexent Bio

Q: Once sequencing has been validated as a clinical solution via trusted workflows, and coinciding with the technological developments driving costs lower, we can expect accelerated human genome profiling for clinical Dx. How soon, do you think, will we see accelerated growth and what can we expect

A: Growth in sequencing demand is accelerating now and will continue expanding for the next decade as a range of new clinical applications are validated and optimized for routine practice.

Q: Tell us more about your organization/company. What patient population are you serving and which services are you specializing in?

A: Advanced cancer patients receiving systemic therapy for metastatic solid tumors are the primary target population for Confera™ DX – the liquid biopsy system we will be launching in Q4 of 2020. Most days on therapy for patients in this large cohort are medically ineffective – an unacceptable level of waste in the cancer ecosystem driven by the time-lags associated with reading serial images. Radiologists typically need 2-4 months for enough change in the tumor scans to enable reliable calls regarding Radiographic Response or Progression. Confera DX will support making a call of Molecular Response or Progression as early as 2-3 weeks following therapy initiation, with quantitative results and superior statistical reliability.

Q: What makes your healthcare/company service unique?

A: Confera DX was purpose built for monitoring response to therapy, with utility across all solid tumors (except CNS), with any systemic therapeutic regimens. Unlike other tools that attempt to do this in smaller subsets, Confera DX will provide oncologists with a versatile system that can be deployed across all late-stage cases; this will enhance the value of cancer-focused datasets by complementing imaging with quantitative, longitudinal biological profiles, linked to therapies and outcomes over time. In addition, we have plans to work with Illumina to transition this lab-developed test (LDT) to an IVD kit model by 2022/23, supporting local labs that will run Confera DX in their own facilities with faster TAT and pricing/coding established that makes it attractive as a revenue generator.

Q: What is your role at and what excites you about your work?

A: As CBO it is my mission to develop efficient plans for commercialization, reimbursement, partnering and product strategy. I love bringing healthy disruption to medicine because it needs it so badly. We will not be able to fully benefit from all the advances in precision oncology unless we get much better at characterizing the biological profile of cancer at the level of the individual, with tracking over time to assess therapy success. It is a marvelous time to be involved in this revolutionary transition, with oncology as the epicenter.

Q: How will genome profiling change the standard-of-care in the near and/or far future?

A: Genomics will be broadly incorporated across the continuum of care, from risk assessment through early detection and subsequent treatment. Systems will emerge that link reimbursement to outcomes, as opposed to FFS, and this will create intelligent incentives for appropriate adoption of advanced molecular diagnostics in order to optimize treatment, minimize costs and eliminate waste.

Q: What are some of the main challenges we need to overcome to see widespread adoption of whole genome profiling across the clinic? How can the community come together to advance its adoption?

A: Costs must continue to fall, platform technologies need to move from sophisticated reference labs into complex cancer center labs, and testing needs to be offered with menus that simplify logistics for providers, who are frustrated at the wide proliferation of labs offering one-off testing products. The community needs to experiment with value-based pricing models to develop newer methods for reimbursement that hold.

Q: When thinking about the field you are working in, what are some recent breakthroughs that are propelling the field forward and how will they impact healthcare?

A: The continuing fall in the cost of sequencing and the recent moves by HHS to create new safe-harbors for value-based pricing arrangements will open the door to much more efficient utilization of expensive therapies in affected populations.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with the PMWC audience?

A: I have been attending the PMWC event for many years and it remains the best showcase for new ideas and innovative companies addressing the opportunities in this emerging field. I look forward to seeing many old friends and encourage those interested in working with Lexent Bio to reach out directly as we are open to collaborative projects.