Owlstone and Bicycle enter into research agreement for early cancer detection

By Jonathan Smith

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Cancer Clinical trials Oncology Peptides Research

Breath biopsy specialist, Owlstone Medical, has entered into a research agreement with biotech company, Bicycle Therapeutics plc, to access its bicyclic peptide technology.

Work will mainly focus on lung cancer screening under the agreement and the companies will look at the potential of combining technologies and methods to develop antigen targeted diagnostic probes that use bicyclic peptides as their targeting mechanisms linked with Owlstone’s exogenous volatile organic compound (EVOC) probes.

Work will initially focus on lung cancer screening as the first proof of principle for the broader opportunity by promoting selective accumulation of the probe at the tumor for increased signal and enhanced specificity.

If successful, the resulting antigen-targeted EVOC probes will have the potential for use in pre-clinical research to support both cell-based and in-vivo studies; in clinical trials for patient stratification and measurement of target engagement; and as companion diagnostics to identify responders/non-responders for therapy selection and to measure target engagement over the course of treatment.

Billy Boyle, co-founder, and CEO at Owlstone, said: “We are committed to transforming diagnostics through the earlier detection of disease through breath, and are always seeking innovative approaches to further enhance the performance of our tests. Through our partnership with Bicycle, we will jointly explore the exciting possibilities of a combined antigen targeted EVOC approach for a broad range of precision medicine applications, initially for the early detection of lung cancer to support our ongoing work in this area.”

Owlstone is developing diagnostic tests in areas of high unmet clinical need including for the early detection of lung cancer, the most common cancer in the world. To support this effort, Owlstone has pioneered the use of EVOC probes in early detection and precision medicine, with the company’s lead EVOC Probe in clinical trials. This probe utilizes the activity of enzymes expressed within the tumor microenvironment to release a volatile reporter chemical that can be detected on breath when a tumor is present.

The combined approach to be explored under the Agreement will exploit Bicycle’s proprietary Bicycle technology to direct binding and accumulation of the probe on tumor cells, following which increased levels of the reporter chemical would be released.

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