Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Patient Access to Cancer Genomics: New Industry Coalition Formed

On  November 17, 2020, several press releases and news stories about the creation of a new coalition focused on access to comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP).  CGP is usually understood to mean large gene-panel tumor tests that include sequencing, dup-del analysis, and fusions.   The Foundation Medicine F1 test is a classic example.

The group is called Access to Comprehensive Genomic Profiling (ACGP). Members now include Exact Sciences (NASDAQ: EXAS), Foundation Medicine, Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN), LabCorp (NYSE: LH), QIAGEN (NYSE: QGEN), Roche Diagnostics (SIX: RO, ROG:OTCQX: RHHBY), and Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO).

See links below:

  • Press release here.
  • Article at 360DX here.
  • Website for organization, here.

Sound bite:

"Cancer is a disease of the genome, not solely the tissue. Tumor profiling has evolved tremendously in the last decade," said Jim Almas, MD, vice president and national medical director of clinical effectiveness at LabCorp, and the chairman of ACGP. "The manufacturers and laboratories forming the coalition have produced incredible assays to help identify the mutations driving advanced cancers, leading patients to better care through targeted cancer treatments." 

Despite evidence of the benefits of this approach, some health insurers still use an outdated framework to evaluate coverage for CGP, creating a disparity in access across patient populations. Many commercial insurance plans do not cover this type of testing, while public or government plans like Medicare do. Limited insurance coverage options may prevent some treating physicians from ordering CGP for their patients.