Grail and AstraZeneca have entered into a strategic collaboration for the development and commercialisation of companion diagnostic (CDx) assays for the latter’s therapies.

Initially, the companies will focus on developing CDx tests for identifying high-risk, early-stage cancer patients.

The collaboration also includes plans for many studies across multiple indications over the next several years.

Additionally, they intend to use Grail’s methylation platform to identify and recruit patients with early-stage disease across multiple tumour types for AstraZeneca’s clinical studies.

The platform is being developed for use in many post-diagnostic settings for identifying patients at high risk of future cancer recurrence and detecting the residual disease presence or absence to make treatment decisions.

It will also be used in identifying cancer patients who may be eligible for neoadjuvant or adjuvant therapy.

The technology platform is intended to optimise circulating tumour DNA testing to detect early-stage disease and minimal residual disease (MRD).

Grail Biopharma Business and Europe president Sir Harpal Kumar said: “Grail has developed a novel approach to detect cancer signals in blood, regardless of whether or not the patient has clinical symptoms.

“Through our collaboration, we hope to provide critical information to improve the identification of patients who may be eligible for clinical trials and change clinical paradigms for the treatment of early-stage cancers.”

Furthermore, the company plans to seek regulatory approval for its liquid biopsy-based CDx in key markets.

Last year, the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK commenced clinical trial to evaluate Grail’s Galleri blood test that can detect over 50 cancer types before symptoms appear.