Molecular diagnostics firm Biocartis Group and healthcare firm Merck have launched a new liquid biopsy test Idylla ctNRAS-BRAF-EGFR S492R Mutation Assay, for detection of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).

The new assay is the second liquid biopsy test to be introduced under the Biocartis-Merck collaboration, with the first assay Idylla ctKRAS Mutation Assay launched in December last year.

Operating on Biocartis’ molecular diagnostics Idylla platform, the new test is a fully automated sample-to-result assay that includes 1ml of blood plasma.

The assay is designed for the qualitative and sensitive detection of 25 mutations and requires less than one minute of hands-on time with a turnaround time of less than two hours.

Biocartis R&D and Alliance Management head Erwin Sablon said: “We now have one of the broadest mCRC test offerings, enabling easy and rapid access to molecular diagnostic testing.

"Because blood plasma is easy to obtain, we anticipate that our liquid biopsy tests in the future will further improve patient access to high-precision biomarker testing, which is a cornerstone in high-precision medicine.”

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The new assay expands the existing Biocartis’ colorectal cancer test offerings that include two CE-marked solid biopsy tests and two liquid biopsy assays.

"We anticipate that our liquid biopsy tests in the future will further improve patient access to high-precision biomarker testing."

The Biocartis-Merck collaboration aims at developing and commercialising new liquid biopsy RAS biomarker tests for mCRC.

All the liquid biopsy test by Biocartis are meant for research use only (RUO).

The CE-marked IVD versions of the liquid biopsy RAS biomarker assays under the collaboration are expected to be launched in the second half of this year.

Image: Biocartis-Merck collaboration results in second mutation assay. Photo: courtesy of Biocartis.