One of the largest healthcare systems in the country will incorporate genomic sequencing for its cancer patients.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based next-generation sequencing firm Foundation Medicine – now owned by Swiss drugmaker Roche – said Tuesday that it had signed a contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Precision Oncology Program to provide comprehensive genomic profiling for veterans with advanced cancers. The contract will cover all the company’s tests, including FoundationOne CDx, FoundationOne Liquid and FoundationOne Heme.
The five-year contract is worth about $111 million and is IDIQ, which stands for “indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity” and means it provides for an indefinite amount of products and services within the time frame, with the company being paid on a per-test basis. In a phone interview, Tom Civik, Foundation Medicine’s chief commercial officer, said that in the next couple of weeks, it will meet with the VA to work through the logistics and ensure that it can meet the department’s needs.
The $111 million amount is based on the estimate that there will be 8,000 tests performed over the course of those five years. Civik said he expects that the needs of the veteran community are likely consistent overall with those seen across the US, with similar insights to be gleaned from the technology. However, there may be some differences such as the ages of patients and the types of cancers they might have. “It’s a great opportunity for us,” he said. “Most importantly for us, we’re honored and humbled to serve veterans with this technology in the time they need it the most.”
One potential opportunity that the partnership affords if for medical research. Most of the VA hospitals, Civik said, are either attached or close to teaching institutions where large clinical trials take place. Consequently, in addition to an interest in using its NGS tests to match patients to targeted therapies, there is also a strong interest in matching them to clinical trials. “Clinical trials and advancing knowledge around this patient population and genome profiling is something we’re extraordinarily interested in,” he said.
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