US-based Exact Sciences said that its testing laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona and its OncoExTra test have been selected by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to take part in the ComboMATCH (Molecular Analysis for Combination Therapy Choice) clinical trials.

ComboMATCH is a coordinated set of precision medicine cancer clinical trials to evaluate new combinations of cancer drugs guided by tumour biology.

It is being led by the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group and NCI, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

OncoExTra is a next-generation sequencing (NGS) test launched in February this year. It is said to offer an overall molecular picture of the patient’s cancer and actionable results to match a patient’s cancer to a targeted therapy or trial.

As a ComboMATCH-designated lab, the American cancer screening and diagnostic tests provider will use its OncoExTra therapy selection test to examine tumour tissue and associated normal blood samples. This will help identify the precise tumour abnormalities that may be most effective for treatment.

The ComboMATCH registration study is expected to serve as the entry point to a series of clinical trials for assessing anti-cancer treatment combinations. This will be in a subset of adults and children with locally advanced or metastatic cancer, as determined by NGS testing.

Exact Sciences precision oncology chief medical officer Rick Baehner said: “The ComboMATCH trials will use our OncoExTra test to provide the most informed picture of a patient’s individual tumour biology.

“We are eager to work with trial investigators and are proud the NCI chose Exact Sciences for this important initiative.

“Our company is dedicated to providing comprehensive tumour information for patients in clinical trials like ComboMATCH, and to enabling the delivery of personalised cancer care.”

In a separate development, Exact Sciences signed a multi-year, co-exclusive deal with US-based Watchmaker Genomics to develop and commercialise the DNA methylation analysis technology, TET-assisted pyridine borane sequencing (TAPS).

Additionally, both firms have signed a supply agreement under which Watchmaker Genomics will provide Exact Sciences access to its sequencing reagents and precision enzymes portfolio.

Watchmaker Genomics CEO Trey Foskett said: “This arrangement provides us with an exciting opportunity to accelerate the development and commercialisation of a game-changing technology to the benefit of the broader research and clinical genomics markets.”