The area of early cancer detection continues to become ever more exciting these days. Each month more companies add liquid biopsies to their product offering as new technologies advance and are able to recognize cancer with increased sensitivity and specificity, particularly from cell-free DNA in the blood.
Last year we talked with one of these companies, Biological Dynamics, which had a technology based on electrical detection that excels at characterizing exosomes. The company is now led by a long-time friend of the program, Dr. Paul Billings, and our guest today. Coming off a stint as the Chief Medical Officer of Natera, an emerging leader in cell-free DNA cancer testing, Paul says he’s had an advisory role with Biological Dynamics and at one point served as their chairman before now taking on the role of CEO. His leadership coincides with the publication of a paper in Nature showing some "very excellent performance" of the company’s technology at detecting pancreatic, ovarian, and bladder cancers in patients.
Paul shows great enthusiasm for the exosome which, he says, comes from the fact that exosomes have more potential than ctDNA for detecting early-stage cancers. Why? For one, he says, the exosome is more stable. And Biological Dynamics’ platform is particularly well suited for looking at exosomes.
Paul has a more focused strategy for the early cancer detection market. When early detection technology first came on the scene, we heard a lot about “pan-cancer screens.” But while the company is working on a general screen, Paul says that they plan to begin by launching a follow-up testing service for those who are already at high risk for cancer.
“Providers of germline tests really need the support of accurate early detection for those people who are found to be at risk. And we want to be providing tools for those families who are at high risk and improving the experience of the risk and managing the risk."