Russian drug giant strikes multi-million-pound deal to use Oncimmune’s EarlyCDT Lung cancer test

R-Pharm has the exclusive right to use EarlyCDT Lung in Russia for the next five years, and Oncimmune expects the partnership will generate revenues of at least £5mln

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Cancer can be hard to detect, but detecting the body’s response to cancer is much easier

Oncimmune Holdings PLC (LON:ONC) has struck a multi-million-pound deal which will see its EarlyCDT Lung cancer detection test used by Russia’s leading drugmaker.

R-Pharm now has the exclusive right to use the EarlyCDT Lung in Russia, as well as in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, for the next five years.

READ: Oncimmune agress US$28mln partnership with Biodesix for lung cancer test

There is also an option for R-Pharm to take the test into other nearby countries, including Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Georgia.

Oncimmune, which expects to generate revenues of at least £5mln over the course of the tie-up, said the partnership was “further validation” of its commercial strategy.

Further recognition of EarlyCDT’s capability

“Following the successful ECLS study, this partnership further highlights the growing international acceptance of EarlyCDT Lung's utility as a screening device for early stage lung cancer,” said chief executive Adam Hill.

“I am delighted to have Alexey and his team at R-Pharm join us to unlock the potential of screening in Russia, broadening further the commercial reach of our EarlyCDT product portfolio.”

R-Pharm chairman, Alexey Repik, added: “By introducing EarlyCDT Lung, first at the health system level in Moscow before rolling out a national screening programme, we aim to save lives and costs for the health system by detecting lung cancer sooner.

“R-Pharm will be investing up to £3.5mln to build the infrastructure needed to establish the screening programme in Moscow and bring EarlyCDT Lung-led screening to Russia.”

What is EarlyCDT?

EarlyCDT is a blood test that can detect antibodies in the blood which are usually only produced in response to the presence of lung cancer.  

These antibodies can be measured much more easily and quickly than tumour antigens.

Oncimmune claims its test can detect all types of lung cancer at all stages with high accuracy, up to four years before clinical diagnosis via the traditional methods.

Recent results from a two-year trial, believed to be the largest of its kind, showed that monitoring recruits reduced the incidence of people with late-stage lung cancer.

Why is Russia important?

With 38mln smokers, Russia is the smoking capital of Europe.

Last year, there were more than 60,000 lung cancer diagnoses, with around 55,000 deaths.

Oncimmue boss Hill believes Russia has “significant potential” as a screening market given its large, high-risk population, and R-Pharm chairman Repik says it is “one of the most important health challenges” in Russia right now.

Oncimmune shares were up 5.4% to 100.1p in late-morning trading on Thursday.

Quick facts: Oncimmune

Price: 37 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £23.4 m

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