Biocept Inc (NASDAQ:BIOC), a molecular diagnostics company, said on Monday that health insurer Highmark, America's fourth largest Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliate, has made a positive coverage determination regarding Biocept's Target Selector liquid biopsy assay which has now been accepted for medical coverage in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
The San Diego-based company said the decision follows two years of evaluation performed by the Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute, which finally concluded that Biocept's liquid biopsy assay "more rapidly assessed the molecular status of patients with NSCLC," enabling oncologists to select the “most appropriate therapy while also reducing the overall cost of care.”
Highmark's coverage determination includes testing with Biocept's assay in health insurances across the insurer's footprint in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia, where it serves 5.6 million members. The evaluation was managed by Highmark Health's VITAL Innovation Platform, which facilitates real-world testing of early-stage health innovations.
Highmark will be the first insurer in its footprint to provide coverage of the test. In addition, Allegheny Health Network is the first health system to offer the testing in Highmark's footprint, with others to follow.
"The diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with cancer is among Highmark Health's top priorities and a focus of the VITAL Innovation Platform," said Anil C Singh, who is the Allegheny Health Network system director of pulmonary/critical care/allergy-immunology and sleep medicine, and medical advisor to VITAL in a statement.
"VITAL's evaluation clearly demonstrates the value of using Biocept's liquid biopsy test in making informed, first-line therapy decisions for patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Additionally, using a simple blood sample reduced the number of invasive tissue biopsies, which can be challenging in patients with advanced NSCLC."
The Biocept Target Selector platform was used to molecularly profile the liquid biopsies of newly diagnosed, treatment-naïve advanced NSCLC patients, as well as NSCLC patients who were progressing after initial therapy. These patients also received tissue biopsy as part of the evaluation.
Meanwhile, Gene G Finley, who is the deputy director of Allegheny Health Network Medical Oncology, said in order to realize "the full potential of targeted therapies," oncologists require "timely and accurate molecular characterization" of a patient's cancer for zeroing in on the best therapy. He added that the study indicated that results of Biocept's liquid biopsy provided clinicians with "accurate knowledge about their patients disease," allowing for better targeted treatment which ultimitely lower healthcare costs.
"The positive results from our collaboration under the VITAL program further solidifies Biocept's role as a leader in the liquid biopsy field and represents an important movement towards improving care for cancer patients," added Biocept CEO Michael Nall. "After several years of participating in the VITAL program, the fact that Highmark has made a positive coverage determination is a testament to the value we bring to patients with cancer and to the healthcare system."
Contact the author Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]
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