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Biocept, Catalyst Pharmaceuticals provide liquid biopsy testing for small cell lung cancer for patients with LEMS

Biocept and Catalyst Pharmaceuticals announced a partnership which will provide Biocept’s Target Selector platform to screen patients diagnosed with LEMS for early onset or recurrence of small cell lung cancer (SCLC). 

As Biocept said on Tuesday, its liquid biopsy tests will be offered by Catalyst Pharmaceuticals at no cost to all patients enrolled in its ongoing Phase III clinical trial of Firdapse for the treatment of LEMS. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

LEMS is a rare autoimmune disease with primary symptoms of muscle weakness, fatigue, muscle aches and autonomic dysfunction, such as impotence, dry mouth and constipation. LEMS is estimated to affect approximately 3,000 individuals in the United States. About 50% of patients have a paraneoplastic form of LEMS often associated with SCLC and, in approximately 90% of patients with this form of LEMS, a tumor was detected within two years following diagnosis. Therapy for LEMS includes the use of symptomatic treatments, as well as anti-tumor treatment with chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or kinase inhibitors if an underlying malignancy is determined.

Gary Ingenito, Catalyst’s Chief Medical Officer noted that about half of LEMS patients have an underlying cancer associated with their disease. “We understand that this can be a source of patient anxiety. Therefore, we are taking the extra step to enable our patients to determine if they express circulating tumor cells, so that further assessment can be performed,” said Ingenito. 

Michael Nall, Biocept’s President and Chief Executive Officer said the agreement with Catalyst Pharmaceuticals provides an opportunity for screening a high-risk patient population and to identify those with early-stage disease, so they could seek treatment as soon as possible. “We look forward to working with Catalyst Pharmaceuticals, and the potential to help their patients with LEMS achieve better health outcomes,” said Nall.

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