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Reporter: Ziv Raviv, PhD

FDA Approves BioMerieux’s BRAF Test as CDx, www.genomeweb.com

The FDA has very recently (May 29, 2013) approved two new drugs to treat unresectable and metastatic melanoma. Both drugs are inhibitors of B-Raf which is frequently mutated in melanoma (1). The new drugs are products of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK): Dabrafenib (marked as Tafinlar), a B-Raf inhibitor aimed to treat melanoma patients harboring V600E mutation (2), and Trametinib (marked as Mekinist), a MEK inhibitor that was shown in phase III clinical trials to be efficient for treating melanoma patients with BRAF V600E or V600K mutations (3). Both drugs are given orally and approved as single agents. About 75,000 new cases of melanoma are being diagnosed in the US and above 9,000 people die from the disease, each year. Until recently metastatic melanoma was considered an incurable disease with very poor prognosis and limited survival rates. These new two drugs are now joining the first two drugs approved in 2011 to treat metastatic melanoma that are already in clinical use – vemurafenib (Zelboraf) which is also a B-Raf inhibitor (4), and ipilimumab (Yervoy). The introduction of the two drugs was co-approved in concert with the THxID BRAF test from BioMérieux. This PCR-based BRAF test is designed to determine whether a melanoma patient harbors the V600E or V600K BRAF gene mutation and will assist directing the correct treatment to be given to patients. This BRAF mutation test is the second companion diagnostic approved for BRAF mutation detection following the approval of Roche’s cobas 4800 BRAF V600 Mutation Test in August 2011. Overall, the association of diagnostics with treatments as approved in this case is another step further in the ongoing efforts invested by pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies toward establishing personalized medicine to treat cancer patients.

Resources:

FDA press release

GenomeWeb report

References

  1. Mutations of the BRAF gene in human cancer. Davies H et al. Nature. 2002 Jun 27;417(6892):949-54.
  2. Dabrafenib in BRAF-mutated metastatic melanoma: a multicentre, open-label, phase 3 randomized controlled trial. Hauschild A et al. Lancet. 2012 Jul 28;380(9839):358-65.
  3. Improved survival with MEK inhibition in BRAF-mutated melanoma. Flaherty KT et al. N Engl J Med. 2012 Jul 12;367(2):107-14
  4. Improved Survival with Vemurafenib in Melanoma with BRAF V600E Mutation. Chapman PB et al. N Engl J Med. 2011 Jun 30;364(26):2507-16

Related articles on this Open Access Online Scientific Journal

  1. Whole exome somatic mutations analysis of malignant melanoma contributes to the development of personalized cancer therapy for this disease. Author: Ziv Raviv PhD
  2. In focus: Melanoma Genetics. Curator: Ritu Saxena, PhD
  3. In focus: Melanoma therapeutics. Author and Curator: Ritu Saxena, PhD

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FDA approves EGFR mutation detection test for NSCLC drug, Tarceva

Author/Reporter: Ritu Saxena, Ph.D.

The cobas EGFR Mutation Test, Roche Molecular Diagnostics, identifies mutations in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) exons 18, 19, 20 and 21 of patients. The FDA has approved the companion diagnostic for the cancer drug Tarceva (erlotinib). It would select non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients for treatment with EGFR inhibitors. This is the first FDA-approved companion diagnostic that detects EGFR gene mutations, which are present in approximately 10-30% of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). The test is being approved with an expanded use for Tarceva as a first-line treatment for patients with NSCLC that has metastasized and who have certain mutations in the EGFR gene.

Lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women leads to death of more people than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for lung cancer in the United States for 2012 reveal that about 226,160 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed (116,470 in men and 109,690 in women), and there will be an estimated 160,340 deaths from lung cancer (87,750 in men and 72,590 among women), accounting for about 28% of all cancer deaths. NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer and usually grows and spreads more slowly than small cell lung cancer. Activating EGFR mutations occur in 10–30% NSCLC cases, and lead to hyperdependence of tumors on EGFR signaling and increased sensitivity of EGFR to inhibition by erlotinib. Genentech/OSI Pharmaceuticals/Roche/Chugai Pharmaceutical’s erlotinib (Tarceva) is a small molecule quinazoline and directly and reversibly inhibits the EGFR tyrosine kinase.

Tarceva has been indicated for first-line treatment of cancer with EGFR mutations including NSCLC. The approval is Tarceva’s fourth indication and the third use for lung cancer. The FDA approved Tarceva on April 16, 2010, for maintenance treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC whose disease has not progressed after four cycles of platinum-based first-line chemotherapy. Tarceva was originally approved in November 2004 for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC after failure of at least one prior chemotherapy regimen.

In a recent multicenter, open label, randomized, phase III clinical trial (EURTAC trial; NCT0044625; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00446225 ), Tarceva was investigated in patients with advanced NSCLC with mutations in the tyrosine kinase (TK) domain of the EGFR. The EURTAC trial was initiated in February 2007 and completed in December 2012 and enrolled around 174 patients. Patients were divided into two experimental arms. Patients in arm 1 were administered Tarceva (150 mg/day) while patients in arm 2 underwent chemotherapy as platinum-based doublets. The chemotherapeutic drugs were administered as Cisplatin (75 mg/m2) / Docetaxel (75 mg/m2); Cisplatin (75 mg/m2) / Gemcitabine (1250 mg/m2; day 1 and 8); Docetaxel (75 mg/m2) /carboplatin (AUC=6); Gemcitabine (1000 mg/m2; day 1 and 8) / Carboplatin (AUC=5). Results revealed that Erlotinib is better tolerated in Chinese population (grade 3-4 toxicities 17%) then in European patients (grade 3-4 toxicities 45%). Erlotinib scored significantly better than chemotherapy in terms of progression-free survival (PFS) with 9.7 versus 5.2 months, respectively (HR 0.37, 95% CI 0.25-0.54). Thus, the results of the trial strengthen the rationale for routine baseline tissue-based assessment of EGFR mutations in patients with NSCLC and for treatment of mutation-positive patients with EGFR tyrosine-kinase inhibitors. (Gridelli C and Rossi A, J Thorac Dis. 2012 Apr 1;4(2):219-20; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22833832 )

In conclusion, FDA approval of cobas EGFR Mutation Test is a recent example of how genotyping patients in clinical trials could lead to crucial information regarding personalizing the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.

Reference:

News brief

Clinical lab products http://www.clpmag.com/all-news/24074-fda-approves-first-companion-diagnostic-to-detect-gene-mutation-linked-with-a-type-of-lung-cancer

Clinical trial http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00446225

Research articles

Melosky B. EURTAC first line therapy for non small cell lung carcinoma in epidermal growth factor receptor mutation positive patients: A choice between two TKIs. J Thorac Dis. 2012 Apr 1;4(2):221-2; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22833833

Gridelli C and Rossi AJ. EURTAC first-line phase III randomized study in advanced non-small cell lung cancer: Erlotinib works also in European population. Thorac Dis. 2012 Apr 1;4(2):219-20; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22833832

Related reading

Nguyen KS and Neal JW. First-line treatment of EGFR-mutant non-small-cell lung cancer: the role of erlotinib and other tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Biologics. 2012;6:337-45; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23055691

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/06/non-small-cell-lung-cancer-drugs-where-does-the-future-lie/ Curator: Ritu Saxena, Ph.D.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/03/03/personalized-medicine-in-nsclc/ Curator: Larry H. Bernstein, M.D.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/08/lung-cancer-nsclc-drug-administration-and-nanotechnology/ Author: Tilda Barliya, Ph.D.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/09/18/personalized-rx-decisions-in-nsclc-treatments-symposium-in-thoracic-oncology/ Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, Ph.D., R.N.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/05/15/diagnosis-of-cardiovascular-disease-treatment-and-prevention-current-predicted-cost-of-care-and-the-promise-of-individualized-medicine-using-clinical-decision-support-systems/ Author/Curator: Larry H. Bernstein, M.D.

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Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease diagnosed by RNA levels of 23 genes – CardioDx, a Pioneer in the Field of Cardiovascular Genomic Diagnostics

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

UPDATED on 11/15/2013

CardioDx, Inc. Nixes IPO, Cites Unfavorable Market Conditions

11/15/2013 10:31:01 AM

 

CardioDx postpones its initial public offering, citing ‘unfavorable market conditions.’ California molecular diagnostics company CardioDx spiked its initial public offering, citing “unfavorable market conditions,” according to news reports. The 5.8-million-share offering by Palo Alto-based CardioDx was slated to raise $92 million at a share price of $14-$16 apiece. The IPO, originally scheduled for yesterday, would have seen CardioDx shares trade under the “CDX” symbol.

SOURCE

http://www.devicespace.com/news_story.aspx?NewsEntityId=315972&type=email&source=DS_111513

CardioDx had planned to use some of the funds to expand its commercial efforts, including its sales and marketing workforce; to fund operations as the company pursues more insurance coverage and reimbursement; to “conduct additional clinical and marketing activities” for the company’s Corus CAD blood-based gene expression test; to fund R&D activity; and for “general corporate purposes.” CardioDx will later specify just the how much it plans to put toward each of those activities.

Investors in the company include V-Sciences Investments, Longitude Venture Partners, Artiman Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, JP Morgan and Mohr Davidow Ventures.

SOURCE

http://www.massdevice.com/news/cardiodx-spikes-ipo

CardioDX pulls IPO, citing poor market conditions

CardioDX, led by David Levison, was one of three medical technology companies to postpone their IPOs on Thursday due to poor market conditions.

Senior Technology Reporter-Silicon Valley Business Journal
CardioDX postponed an IPO on Thursday after deciding that the market is unfavorable at this time.

 

The Palo Alto company led by CEO David Levison was one of three planned medical tech companies that postponed going public on Thursday. San Diego-basedCelladon and Monrovia-based Xencor also decided to hold off due to poor market conditions.

Redwood City pharmaceutical developer Relypsa, meanwhile, went ahead with a drastically reduced IPO that raised about half of what it had been projected for it.

CardioDX, which sells diagnostic tests for cardiovascular disease, reported total revenue in in 2012 of $2.5 million and a net loss of $25.6 million. The company expects to continue to show losses for the next several years and has an accumulated deficit through June totaling $165.9 million. As of June 30, it had $46.8 million in cash, equivalents and investments.

The company’s biggest existing stakeholder is V-Sciences Investments, a wholly owned subsidiary of Temasek Life Sciences Private Ltd., which holds 19.9 percent of outstanding shares.

Other big stakeholders are Longitude Venture Partners, with a 17.9 percent stake; Artiman Ventures, 13.9 percent; Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, 9.5 percent; JP Morgan, 6.4 percent; and Mohr Davidow Ventures, 5.8 percent.

SOURCE

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2013/11/15/cardiodx-pulls-ipo-citing-poor-market.html

Cardiovascular MDx Firm CardioDx Files to Go Public

UPDATED on 10/14/2013

October 14, 2013

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Cardiovascular molecular diagnostics firm CardioDx has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to go public with an intended offering of up to $86.3 million of common stock.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm has not priced its offering yet or said how many shares it plans on offering. Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Jefferies are listed as joint book-running managers on the offering, while Piper Jaffray and William Blair are co-managers.

The company plans on listing on the Nasdaq Global Market under ticker symbol “CDX.”

In its Form S-1, CardioDx said that its tests provide healthcare professionals with “critical, actionable information to improve patient care and management,” with an initial focus on coronary artery diseases (CAD), arrhythmia, and heart failure.

Its flagship product is the Corus CAD, a gene expression-based test for assessing non-diabetic patients who display symptoms suggestive of obstructive CAD. The test was launched in 2009 and through June 30, CardioDx delivered results for more than 40,000 tests, it said.

Corus CAD received Medicare Part B coverage in August 2012, making it a covered benefit for about 48 million Medicare beneficiaries, the company added.

In 2012, CardioDx posted $2.5 million in revenues with a net loss of $25.6 million. Through the first six months of 2013, the firm had revenues $2.9 million and a net loss of $18.4 million.

It had $46.8 million in cash, cash equivalents, and investments as of June 30, it said.

In August 2012, CardioDx raised $58 million in private financing. Before that, it raised $60 million in a financing round. In 2010, GE Healthcare invested $5 million in the company as part of a Series D financing round.

David Levison heads the firm as President and CEO. Other members of the management team include CFO Andrew Guggenhime; Chief Scientific Officer Steven Rosenberg; Chief Medical Officer Mark Monane; and Chief Commercial Officer Deborah Kilpatrick.

CardioDx is the latest in a recent string of omics-related companies who have gone public or have filed to go public in the US. Cancer GeneticsNanoString Technologies, and Foundation Medicine launched their IPOs earlier this year. Meanwhile, VeracyteBiocept, and Evogene have filed to float.

UPDATED on 2/25/2013

CardioDx Announces Publication of COMPASS Study Demonstrating the Corus CAD Test Outperforms Myocardial Perfusion Imaging in Overall Diagnostic Accuracy for Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease

February 24, 2013
CardioDx Announces Publication of COMPASS Study Demonstrating the Corus CAD Test Outperforms Myocardial Perfusion Imaging in Overall Diagnostic Accuracy for Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease

Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:30am EST

– Study Highlights the Validity of Corus CAD as a First-Line Test to Help Clinicians Exclude Obstructive CAD as a Cause of the Patient’s Symptoms – PALO ALTO, Calif.,  Feb. 19, 2013

/PRNewswire/ — CardioDx, Inc., a pioneer in the field of  cardiovascular genomic diagnostics, today announced the publication of the COMPASS (Coronary  Obstruction Detection by  Molecular
Personalized Gene Expression) study in  Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics,  a journal of the American Heart Association. 

Results of the prospective, multi-center U.S. study showed that  Corus®  CAD, a blood-based  gene expression test, demonstrated high accuracy with both a high negative predictive value (96 percent) and high sensitivity (89 percent) for assessing  obstructive coronary artery disease  (CAD) in a population of patients referred for stress testing with myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI).  The study’s authors conclude that using Corus CAD earlier in the diagnostic algorithm could reduce the number of invasive cardiac tests by more accurately evaluating the presence of obstructive coronary artery disease compared to the traditional algorithm of stress myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) in these patients.

COMPASS enrolled stable patients with symptoms suggestive of CAD who had been referred for MPI at 19 U.S. sites.  A blood sample was obtained in all 431 patients prior to MPI and Corus CAD gene expression testing was performed with study investigators blinded to Corus CAD test results. Following MPI, patients underwent either invasive coronary angiography or coronary CT angiography, gold-standard anatomical tests for the diagnosis of coronary artery disease. 

The study was designed to provide additional independent validation of the Corus CAD test in a real-world intended use patient population of patients presenting for MPI, a common noninvasive test for CAD, and builds on the results of the previous PREDICT validation study. Corus CAD requires only a simple blood draw for testing, making it safe, convenient, and easy to administer. The study evaluated results in stable non-diabetic patients with typical or atypical symptoms suggestive of CAD and found that Corus CAD surpassed the accuracy of MPI, a test that was administered more 10 million times in the U.S. in 2010.[1]

“The evaluation of stable patients with chest pain and other symptoms suggestive of CAD is a common challenge for clinicians, accounting for as many as 10,000 outpatient visits each day,” said the publication’s lead author,  Gregory S. Thomas, M.D., M.P.H., Medical Director of the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Clinical Professor of Medicine and Director of Nuclear Cardiology Education at the  University of California-Irvine  School of Medicine. “In the U.S., MPI testing is often performed in these patients and is followed by referral to invasive coronary angiography. Based on the results of this study of the Corus CAD gene expression test, we now have a reliable diagnostic approach for evaluating patients with symptoms of obstructive CAD.  With its high sensitivity and negative predictive value, Corus CAD may help clinicians accurately and efficiently exclude the diagnosis of obstructive CAD early in the diagnostic pathway, so they can assess for other causes of their patients’ symptoms.”

The pre-specified primary endpoint of the COMPASS study was the receiver-operator characteristics (ROC) analysis to evaluate the ability of Corus CAD to identify coronary arterial blockages of 50 percent or greater by quantitative coronary angiography.  Corus CAD outperformed MPI in overall diagnostic accuracy for assessing obstructive CAD, with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.79 for the Corus CAD test compared to MPI site and core-lab read AUCs of 0.59 and 0.63 respectively (p<0.001).  In addition, Corus CAD performed better than MPI in sensitivity (89 percent vs. 27 percent, p<0.001) and negative predictive value (96 percent vs. 88 percent, p<0.001) parameters, thus demonstrating excellent performance for excluding obstructive CAD as the cause of a patient’s symptoms.  The COMPASS results corroborated earlier findings from the PREDICT multicenter U.S. validation study[2] demonstrating that the Corus CAD score is proportional to coronary artery stenosis severity.

“Corus CAD can help solve an enormous unmet need in healthcare by providing clinicians with a safe, convenient and reliable tool to help evaluate common patient symptoms and triage them more appropriately for subsequent therapy or additional testing,” said  David Levison, President and CEO of CardioDx.  “In addition to its higher diagnostic accuracy, Corus CAD holds potential to reduce a major healthcare expense category – unnecessary noninvasive imaging and/or invasive coronary angiography procedures and their associated risks and side effects. We have worked closely with leading clinicians to build a solid clinical and economic foundation for Corus CAD, leading to its growing acceptance in the medical and payer communities as evidenced by the more than 35,000 tests performed to date and Medicare’s decision to cover the test.”

 SOURCE:

http://www.fiercemedicaldevices.com/press-releases/cardiodx-announces-publication-compass-study-demonstrating-corus-cad-test-o

CardioDx is promoting yet another post-marketing study whose data may help the company’s gene expression test for obstructive coronary artery disease reach more patients, better compete with the standard of care and also build vital market share.

Executives at the California-based 2012 Fierce 15 company say they wanted more data on Corus CAD‘s real-world use, building on its previous PREDICT validation trial as a result. The test has been on sale commercially since 2009 and won crucial Medicare reimbursement last fall. Chief Scientific Officer Steven Rosenberg told FierceMedicalDevices via email that the results from the latest study pointed in a number of positive directions.

“It demonstrates performance at least as good as that seen in the PREDICT study, but in the population the Corus CAD is indicated for,” Rosenberg said, “It shows significantly higher performance for obstructive CAD than MPI, which is the most common non-invasive imaging test used in this regard.”

A 431-patient clinical study of the blood diagnostic rated the test with a 96% negative predictive value and 89% high sensitivity, in assessing the condition in patients who were referred for stress testing with myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI). (Last November, CardioDx heralded similar results from another study using Corus CAD on 98 geriatric patients.) Details are published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics.

The blood test, conducted at 19 U.S. sites through multiple academic institutions, determined that using Corus CAD earlier in the diagnostic process better assessed the presence of coronary artery disease versus MPI. This might encourage doctors to cut back on invasive, more expensive cardiac tests by ruling out obstructive CAD sooner. In other words, determining a patient doesn’t have obstructive CAD eliminates the need for diagnostic procedures such as coronary angiography or coronary CT angiography, the company explains.

Post-marketing studies are increasingly important in today’s health care market, with the need to demonstrate the utility of a device or diagnostic in as most detailed a way possible. And it’s not just boosting the standard of care; the Affordable Care Act means value matters, too, more than ever before. Success with this mission can help broaden market share and also increase the chance of private as well as government insurance coverage. Additionally, new post-marketing trials can also set the stage for expanded indications down the line.

SOURCE:

http://www.fiercemedicaldevices.com/story/cardiodx-cad-dx-passes-another-post-marketing-test/2013-02-24?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal

A Blood Based Gene Expression Test for Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease Tested in Symptomatic Non-Diabetic Patients Referred for Myocardial Perfusion Imaging: The COMPASS Study

  1. Gregory S. Thomas1*,
  2. Szilard Voros2,
  3. John A. McPherson3,
  4. Alexandra J. Lansky4,
  5. Mary E. Winn5,
  6. Timothy M. Bateman6,
  7. Michael R. Elashoff7,
  8. Hsiao D. Lieu7,
  9. Andrea M. Johnson7,
  10. Susan E. Daniels7,
  11. Joseph A. Ladapo8,
  12. Charles E. Phelps9,
  13. Pamela S. Douglas10 and
  14. Steven Rosenberg7

+Author Affiliations


  1. 1Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Long Beach & University of California, Irvine, CA

  2. 2Stony Brook University Medical Center, Stony Brook, NY

  3. 3Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

  4. 4Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CN

  5. 5Scripps Translational Science Institute, La Jolla, CA

  6. 6University of Missouri, Kansas City, MO

  7. 7CardioDx, Inc., Palo Alto, CA

  8. 8New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY

  9. 9University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

  10. 10Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke University, Durham, NC
  1. * MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, 2801 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90806 gthomas@mimg.com

Abstract

Background—Obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) diagnosis in symptomatic patients often involves non-invasive testing before invasive coronary angiography (ICA). A blood-based gene expression score (GES) was previously validated in non-diabetic patients referred for ICA but not in symptomatic patients referred for myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI).

Methods and Results—This prospective multi-center study obtained peripheral blood samples for GES before MPI in 537 consecutive patients. Patients with abnormal MPI usually underwent ICA; all others had research coronary CT-angiography (CTA), with core laboratories defining coronary anatomy. A total of 431 patients completed GES, coronary imaging (ICA or CTA), and MPI. Mean age was 56±10 (48% women). The pre-specified primary endpoint was GES receiver-operator characteristics (ROC) analysis to discriminate ≥50% stenosis (15% prevalence by core laboratory analysis). ROC curve area (AUC) for GES was 0.79 (95% CI 0.73-0.84, p<.001), with sensitivity, specificity, and negative predictive value (NPV) of 89%, 52%, and 96%, respectively, at a pre-specified threshold of ≤15 with 46% of patients below this score. The GES outperformed clinical factors by ROC and reclassification analysis and also showed significant correlation with maximum percent stenosis. Six-month follow-up on 97% of patients showed that 27/28 patients with adverse cardiovascular events or revascularization had GES >15. Site and core-lab MPI had AUCs of 0.59 and 0.63, respectively, significantly less than GES.

ConclusionsA GES has high sensitivity and NPV for obstructive CAD. In this population clinically referred for MPI, the GES outperformed clinical factors and MPI.

Clinical Trial Registration Information—www.clinicaltrials.gov; Identifier: NCT01117506.

  • Received June 6, 2012.
  • Revision received January 15, 2013.
  • Accepted February 5, 2013.

http://circgenetics.ahajournals.org/content/early/2013/02/15/CIRCGENETICS.112.964015.abstract?sid=74741525-8453-460e-8407-f11022fe9a24

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/biotech/2012/08/cardiodx-corus-medicare-heart-disease.html

CardioDx heart disease test wins Medicare coverage

San Francisco Business Times by Ron Leuty, Reporter

Date: Wednesday, August 8, 2012, 4:00am PDT

CardioDx's test for obstructive heart disease will be covered by Medicare retroactive to Jan. 1.
Photo supplied by CardioDx

CardioDx’s test for obstructive heart disease will be covered by Medicare retroactive to Jan. 1.

Reporter- San Francisco Business Times
 

A key national Medicare contractor will cover the cost of a coronary artery disease test developed by CardioDx Inc.

The move is important for Palo Alto-based CardioDx because private insurers tend to follow the federal government’s Medicare health insurance program. The company has had to seek reimbursement on a case-by-case basis with those private insurers since its Corus CAD gene expression test hit the market in June 2009.

The decision disclosed Tuesday by Palmetto GBA, a national contractor that administers Medicare benefits in Columbia, S.C., means that Medicare will cover the test for as many as 40 million enrollees. Coverage is retroactive to Jan. 1.

Corus CAD is a shoebox-size kit that uses a simple blood draw to measure the RNA levels of 23 genes. Using an algorithm, it then creates a score that determines the likelihood that a patient has obstructive coronary artery disease.

“By providing Medicare beneficiaries access to Corus CAD, this coverage decision enables patients to avoid unnecessary procedures and risks associated with cardiac imaging and elective invasive angiography, while helping payers address an area of significant healthcare spending,” CardioDx President and CEO David Levison said in a press release.

The decision represents the latest Medicare-coverage win for Bay Area diagnostic test makers. Palmetto earlier this year opted to cover the Afirma gene expression test from South San Francisco’s Veracyte Inc. to diagnosis thyroid nodules, and last summer Palmetto said it would cover Redwood City-based Genomic Health Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GHDX)colon cancer recurrence test.

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