Agreements Will Help Drive Greater Accuracy of Epigenetic Information for the Early Detection of Cancer
BOULDER,CO – Watchmaker Genomics, a supplier of innovative products for molecular analysis, today announced a multi-year, co-exclusive agreement with Exact Sciences Corporation, a leading provider of cancer screening and diagnostic tests, to develop and commercialize the breakthrough DNA methylation analysis technology, TET-assisted pyridine borane sequencing (TAPS). Watchmaker will apply its expertise in engineering DNA-modifying enzymes to further improve the TAPS chemistry, ultimately enabling advanced applications, including cancer screening and minimal residual disease (MRD) testing. Under the licensing agreement, Watchmaker may develop and commercialize the TAPS technology under its own brand.
DNA methylation patterns offer dynamic and rich insights into the status of both healthy and diseased tissue. These signatures are stable, relatively abundant, and often measurable in the blood, making them promising biomarkers in minimally invasive liquid biopsies. TAPS has the potential to dramatically improve DNA methylation analysis accuracy by enabling a direct readout of cytosine methylation with less template damage and noise when compared to existing methods¹.
“Exact Sciences is a leader in cancer screening, and this agreement is a great ﬁt with Watchmaker’s core competencies in next-generation sequencing and genomics applications,” said Brian Kudlow, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Watchmaker Genomics. “It aligns with our belief that multimodal genomic and epigenomic assays represent the frontier of numerous liquid biopsy applications, including early cancer detection.”
In addition to the development and licensing agreement, the companies have entered into a long-term strategic supply agreement. Under its terms, Watchmaker will provide Exact Sciences with access to its portfolio of best-in-class sequencing reagents and precision enzymes. These products have the potential to enhance the performance of Exact Sciences’ tests while significantly reducing associated costs.
“Our company’s mission is to develop and broadly commercialize tools that improve the efficiency of capturing and interpreting the biological information required for many advanced genetic testing applications,” said Trey Foskett, CEO of Watchmaker Genomics. “This arrangement provides us with an exciting opportunity to accelerate the development and commercialization of a game-changing technology to the benefit of the broader research and clinical genomics markets.”
¹ Paulina Siejka-Zielińska et al., Cell-free DNA TAPS provides multimodal information for early cancer detection. Sci. Adv. 7, eabh0534(2021). DOI:10.1126/sciadv.abh0534
About Watchmaker Genomics
Watchmaker Genomics applies advanced enzymology to enable breakthrough applications for the reading, writing, and editing of DNA and RNA. The company combines domain expertise in protein engineering with large-scale enzyme manufacturing to address the demanding quality, performance, and scale requirements of high-growth clinical genomics applications. Watchmaker’s product portfolio includes enzymes and kits for next-generation sequencing, synthetic biology, and molecular diagnostics. For more information, please visit www.watchmakergenomics.com, follow Watchmaker Genomics on Twitter @WatchmakerGeno1 or find us on LinkedIn.
About Exact Sciences Corp.
A leading provider of cancer screening and diagnostic tests, Exact Sciences gives patients and health care professionals the clarity needed to take life-changing action earlier. Building on the success of the Cologuard® and Oncotype® tests, Exact Sciences is investing in its pipeline to develop innovative solutions for use before, during, and after a cancer diagnosis. For more information, visit ExactSciences.com, follow Exact Sciences on Twitter @ExactSciences, or ﬁnd Exact Sciences on LinkedIn and Facebook.