Biocept has developed a patented liquid biopsy technology called Target Selector that detects cancer biomarkers
Since the beginning of 2019, the company has raised more than $18 million in equity capital
It is currently ramping up global marketing efforts for its flagship blood tests to grow the company organically
What Biocept does:
The San Diego-based company sells CEE-Sure blood collection tubes and has developed a patented liquid biopsy technology called Target Selector that detects and isolates cancer biomarkers such as circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA).
Biocept offers the tests commercially to doctors, hospitals, clinics and researchers, with a focus on lung, breast, gastric, colorectal and prostate cancers - which represent 45% of all metastatic cancers - as well as melanoma.
The company says these simple blood tests can obtain the needed molecular information non-invasively and more rapidly than a tissue biopsy.
Biocept also has created a companion program called Empower TC that directly involves community pathologists in the interpretation of the liquid biopsy test results. Pathologists are often the first to know when a tissue biopsy is inadequate for molecular profiling, the company says.
The group has also developed tumor-specific, multi-gene next-generation sequencing (NGS) panels for both lung and breast cancer that run on Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc's (NYSE:TMO) Ion Torrent NGS platform, which is marketed to physicians, researchers and pharmaceutical companies.
Biocept also collaborates with Prognos Inc, a private company in New York that predicts diseases by applying artificial intelligence to clinical lab diagnostics. Prognos maintains a registry of more than 20 billion medical records which includes Biccept’s database of more than 16,000 patients. Prognos markets its data to biopharma clients.
How is it doing:
Since the beginning of the year, the company has raised more than $18 million in equity capital, including a $8.2 million direct offering with institutional investors, providing a cushion to implement its business strategy, which in part calls for increased penetration into the emerging liquid biopsy market - estimated at $17 billion by 2023 - and executing the launch of the NGS Panels.
For the first quarter - which ended March 31 and is the company’s most recent earnings update - Biocept reported cash and cash equivalents of $14.8 million, compared with $3.4 million as of December 31, with the increase due to equity capital raises.
Revenue for the first quarter was $1 million and included $976,000 in commercial test revenue. That compared with revenue of $807,000 in the prior-year quarter, which included $762,000 in commercial test revenue.
Biocept has had a busy year so far as it ramps up the global marketing efforts for its flagship blood tests to grow organically.
In early 2019, the company launched a plan to make available research-use-only kits intended to enable molecular laboratories around the world to use its Target Selector ctDNA assays.
Those efforts got a boost when an article appeared in the January issue of the medical journal "Clinics in Oncology," citing Biocept’s Target Selector test in the management of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.
The peer-review report noted that the liquid biopsy test on three patients detected activating mutation biomarkers, bettering tissue biopsies that were deemed inadequate.
In order to solidify the validation process of its Target Selector technology, Biocept has teamed up with a Dubai-based diagnostics lab which is testing samples from the Middle East, Africa and Asia to ensure comparability of results achieved at Biocept's San Diego facility.
Biocept has won 34 patents worldwide stemming from its liquid biopsy technology and commercial-testing platforms, with its most recent win in China. The patent covers the use of antibody cocktails to capture rare cells such as circulating tumor cells from any biological sample.
What the CEO says:
"Last year we had to retool our operations,'' CEO Mike Nall said in an iterview with Proactive Investors.
"So when you look at the growth pattern, you'll see the company grew really quickly in the first couple of years and we really plateaued last year. And last year we had to make a lot of investments in the actual operations to scale. Those are behind us now and we're back to scalling for growth."
Contact the author: [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter @PatrickMGraham