Spin-off Reveal Genomics born to develop innovative diagnostic tests in oncology

Reveal Genomics’ first goal will be to develop diagnostic tools based on complex genomic data for patients with advanced breast cancer.

The newly-formed spin-off is led by Aleix Prat, from Hospital Clinic-IDIBAPS and the University of Barcelona (UB), together with Ana Vivancos from the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), Charles M. Perou and Joel S. Parker, from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill, USA) and Patricia Villagrasa, from the Cooperative Clinical Research Group SOLTI.

During the company's registration act, the founding members were accompanied by Rosa Vilavella, general manager at Clinic Foundation for Biomedical Research (FCRB) and the IDIBAPS, and Andrés de Kelety, general manager at VHIO.

The cancer genome contains a large amount of clinically important information that has yet to be revealed. Five researchers have been analyzing and decoding together the breast cancer genome for many years to predict the clinical behavior of tumors. Based on their findings and their complementary expertise, they have decided to team up and bring new scientific knowledge and technology to the cancer clinic. The team is led by Dr. Aleix Prat, Head of the Medical Oncology Service at Hospital Clínic, the Translational Genomics and Targeted Therapies in Solid Tumors Group at IDIBAPS, and Professor at the UB: “In current precision oncology, we make therapeutic decisions, such as giving a drug X versus Y, based on the presence or absence of a specific single mutation in the patient's genome. We know this is not enough to predict what will happen to the patient. The solution is to develop clinical tests that take into account more variables and thus better use the full power of each patient´s complete genetic information," says Dr. Prat.

Reveal Genomics is developing new and innovative tests of high analytical complexity, yet with an easy-to-interpret results. "That genome sequencing provides us with much data is not new. What will be innovative is to demonstrate that we can use and combine this so called genome-wide data to answer clinical questions in a more precise way," comments Dr. Ana Vivancos, Head at the VHIO Cancer Genomics Group.

Reveal Genomics will focus initially on advanced or metastatic breast cancer, a disease that kills 140,000 women and men each year in the European Union and the United States. “Fortunately, there are numerous effective drugs for advanced breast cancer patents, and survival is increasing. Furthermore, new therapies are expected to arrive in the coming years creating the need for new tools to personalize the type of therapy at a given point in time," comments Dr. Prat.

Team researchers such as Dr. Charles M. Perou, Co-Director of the Computational Medicine Program at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Joel S. Parker, Associate Professor of Genetics at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Bioinformatics Director for the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, have pioneered the development and clinical implementation of other complex genomic tests, such as the 50-gene test called PAM50 for use in patients with early-stage breast cancer. "Our first goal now is to create an innovative tool for advanced breast cancer that identifies key phenotypic features for understanding and predicting tumor behavior before, during, and after treatment," says Dr. Perou. Dr. Parker adds: “An important point from our research is that the biology of advanced breast cancer is not static and changes over time. Having the ability to monitor the phenotypic state of the tumor using biopsies is a growing concept with enormous potential to change the paradigm of how biomarkers are routinely used in oncology”.

Reveal Genomics plans to develop and market their tests aimed at those that will directly influence therapeutic decision making, and with an accompanying high level of clinical validation. According to Dr. Patricia Villagrasa, Scientific Director at SOLTI, "It is key to demonstrate that we will improve patients’ well-being; otherwise, what we do would not make sense. We will seek clinical utility of our tests through clinical trials as part of our company's rigorous action plan".