Biocept Inc (NASDAQ:BIOC), a molecular diagnostics company commercializing and developing liquid biopsies to improve the detection and treatment of cancer, today announced the launch of its proprietary, quantitative assay targeting BRAF mutations utilizing a patient’s blood sample. This diagnostic assay has the potential to help physicians identify patients who might benefit from currently available targeted therapies. In addition, due to the high sensitivity of detecting BRAF mutations, Biocept’s test can be used for monitoring patients for response to treatment and for progression of disease during the course of therapy.

About half of all patients with melanoma have changes (mutations) in the BRAF gene. These changes cause the gene to make an altered BRAF protein that signals the melanoma cells to grow and divide quickly. Drugs such as Vemaurafenib (Zelboraf™) from Genentech and Dabarafenib (Tafinlar™) from Novartis target these mutations. BRAF gene mutations also have been demonstrated to have important implications in other solid tumors such as colon and lung cancers.

In addition to its new biomarker test for melanoma, Biocept has commercialized blood-based tests for breast, lung and gastric cancer biomarkers. All Biocept blood-based tests provide options for healthcare providers and researchers when a tissue biopsy is not available or unsafe to perform, or when additional information is desired.

“Analysis of BRAF mutations from a blood sample allows rapid diagnosis of the BRAF V600E and V600K status in patients with advanced melanoma and could enable therapy improvement for patients who were previously found to be negative through tissue biopsy due to tumor heterogeneity,” said Veena Singh, M.D., Biocept’s Senior Vice President and Senior Medical Director. “Our test is highly specific and sensitive and can therefore detect even low levels of mutant BRAF. This test holds promise as a therapeutic monitoring tool for patients with advanced melanoma.”

“Due to their high sensitivity, our mutation tests offer a great advantage in assessing patients with advanced disease and provide a new tool for following patients who are likely to be at high risk for disease recurrence,” said Lyle Arnold, Ph.D., Biocept’s Senior Vice President of Research & Development and Chief Scientific Officer. “The addition of BRAF to our test menu expands the spectrum of both tumor types and relevant biomarkers we are able to detect in blood with our proprietary methods. We look to cover all guidelines-listed biomarkers that aid medical decision making and that have potential companion diagnostic value.”

Biocept plans to launch additional biomarkers for melanoma and other solid tumors this year that physicians can use when making treatment decisions. (Original Source)

Shares of Biocept closed yesterday at $2.64. BIOC has a 1-year high of $6.18 and a 1-year low of $1.09. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $2.91 and its 200-day moving average is $2.66.

Biocept Inc is acancer diagnostics company that develops and commercializes proprietary circulating tumor cell, or CTC, and circulating tumor DNA, or ctDNA, tests utilizing a standard blood sample or liquid biopsy.