US-based genomic diagnostics company Veracyte has partnered with Johnson & Johnson Innovation for the development and commercialisation of new tests to detect lung cancer during the earliest stages.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with the Lung Cancer Initiative at Johnson & Johnson, which aims to prevent, intercept and cure lung cancer.

It will involve the integration of study cohorts of more than 5,000 patients with multiple years of clinical outcome data.

“The company will use the findings from the project to develop a non-invasive nasal swab test for the early identification of lung cancer.”

As part of the agreement, Veracyte will provide bronchial brushing and nasal swab samples from its biorepository and deploy RNA whole-transcriptome sequencing platform on the combined cohort.

The company will use the findings from the project to develop a non-invasive nasal swab test for the early identification of lung cancer and commercialise its Percepta classifier on the whole-transcriptome sequencing platform.

Percepta Bronchial Genomic Classifier is a genomic technology designed to improve lung cancer detection and reduce the need for invasive procedures. The partnership with J&J is expected to enable the launch of the classifier in the first half of this year.

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Meanwhile, the Lung Cancer Initiative at Johnson & Johnson will be able to access the project data for therapeutic purposes.

Veracyte chairman and CEO Bonnie Anderson said: “This strategic collaboration further advances Veracyte’s pioneering position in lung cancer diagnosis and underscores the promise of our field of injury science and approach.

“With the acceleration of our product pipeline, we believe this collaboration expands our addressable lung cancer diagnostic market to a $30bn to $40bn global opportunity.”

Under the terms of the alliance, Veracyte will receive $5m as an upfront payment from J&J, followed by up to a total of $15m in potential development and reimbursement milestone payments.