Angle (AIM: AGL) has released some positive news about its 400 patient, two centre, ovarian cancer study.
When a patient faces an operation to remove an abnormal pelvic growth, there’s no simple way of reliably diagnosing beforehand whether it’s malignant. So many women have expensive surgery in an oncology centre which wasn’t necessary; or worse, they have general surgery, which fails to deal with a malignant tumour effectively. Angle’s Parsortix system allows doctors to identify accurately which patients have ovarian cancer through a non-invasive blood test.
The Parsortix system pumps patient blood samples through a precision-etched pattern of pathways in a small cartridge. Normal blood cells pass through, but the cartridge acts like a sieve, trapping tumour cells that are circulating in the blood. This ‘liquid biopsy’, combined with a test to identify the cells’ gene expression, provides an accurate result with far fewer false positives than competing methods. Angle will spend the next six months refining the algorithm and downstream analysis of the sample, then there will be a further validation study as a prelude to FDA and EU approval.
This ovarian cancer test will be the first specific clinical application for Parsortix, which is estimated to be a £300 million market. A more general FDA approval of Parsortix as a platform for harvesting cells for analysis in metastatic breast cancer is being pursued in a US study. Cancer centres are being signed up in order to complete the study by the end of this year. This approval should ‘turbocharge’ research sales in the words of CEO Andrew Newland and will open the door for Parsortix use as a companion diagnostic test by pharma companies in drug development.
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Ultimately Parsortix is about selling machines and consumable cartridges, rather than about Angle developing proprietary clinical tests. At the moment Newland says his team are doing the ‘heavy lifting’, but the longer term aim is to be an ‘Intel Inside’ as others use his consumables in their test or drug products.
There was £5.5 million cash at the end of April. While sales should pick up after FDA approval in breast cancer, more funds will be needed to see the ovarian cancer test onto the market.