Bristol-Myers Squibb, Grail partner to develop blood-based cancer screening

2 March 2017 (Last Updated March 2nd, 2017 18:30)

Pharmaceutical firm Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has invested in life sciences company Grail to develop diagnostics for cancer detection.

Pharmaceutical firm Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has invested in life sciences company Grail to develop diagnostics for cancer detection.

Grail combines the high-intensity cancer DNA sequencing, computer science and large clinical studies to develop highly sensitive blood tests that detect cancer in its early stages.

Through the new diagnostic platform, the company aims to provide early intervention of the disease with targeted therapies.

The investment would allow BMS an early access to Grail's clinical trial databases that may act as resource for understanding tumor genomics.

BMS chief scientific officer Francis Cuss said: “A key enabler of our Immuno-Oncology strategy is to leverage precision medicine to speed the selection of the most effective combinations of therapies for patients.

“Grail’s future innovation potential is significant.

"Liquid biopsies hold the potential to support much earlier intervention and better define individual patient characteristics that may enhance treatment decisions.”

A research collaboration between the firms would further enable BMS to examine its clinical data using Grail’s analytic tools.

The analysis is expected to facilitate research and development decisions, guide strategies to advance point of care companion diagnostics and improve selection, care and management of patients via targeted treatments.

"Liquid biopsies hold the potential to support much earlier intervention and better define individual patient characteristics that may enhance treatment decisions."

The investment by BMS is a part of the $900m series B financing raised by Grail to enhance its diagnostic tools.

The first round of closing included investors such as ARCH Venture Partners, Johnson & Johnson, Amazon, Celgene, McKesson Ventures, Merck, Tencent Holdings and Varian Medical Systems.

The firm is planning to close a second round of approximately $1bn.