Owlstone Medical, the producer of Breath Biopsy® for applications in early disease detection and precision medicine, has announced that it has entered into a research agreement with Bicycle Therapeutics plc, a biotechnology company pioneering a new and differentiated class of therapeutics based on its proprietary bicyclic peptide (Bicycle®) technology.
Under the agreement, the companies will investigate the potential of combining technologies and methods to develop antigen-targeted diagnostic probes that use bicyclic peptides as their targeting mechanism linked with the Exogenous Volatile Organic Compound (EVOC®) probes from Owlstone. Work will initially focus on lung cancer screening as the first proof of principle for the broader opportunity by promoting selective accumulation of the probe at the tumor for increased signal and enhanced specificity.
If successful, the resulting antigen-targeted EVOC probes will have the potential for use in pre-clinical research to support both cell-based and in vivo studies in clinical trials for patient stratification and measurement of target engagement, and as companion diagnostics to identify responders/non-responders for therapy selection and to measure target engagement over the course of treatment.
Owlstone is developing diagnostic tests in areas of high unmet clinical need including for the early detection of lung cancer, the most common cancer in the world. To support this effort, Owlstone has pioneered the use of EVOC Probes in early detection and precision medicine, with the company’s lead EVOC probe in clinical trials. This probe utilizes the activity of enzymes expressed within the tumor microenvironment to release a volatile reporter chemical that can be detected on breath when a tumor is present. The combined approach to be explored under the agreement will exploit Bicycle’s proprietary Bicycle technology to direct binding and accumulation of the probe on tumor cells, following which increased levels of the reporter chemical would be released.