CollabRx and CellNetix partner to advance molecular testing in oncology

Medical informatics will allow physicians to consider a tumor's molecular characteristics in planning of cancer treatment

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SAN FRANCISCO—CollabRx Inc., a data analytics company focused on informing clinical decision-making in molecular medicine, and Seattle-based CellNetix Pathology & Laboratories LLC, a leading anatomic pathology testing and services provider, recently announced a multiyear agreement to access CollabRx medical informatics—both technology and content resources—to support the clinical interpretation of genetic sequencing-based tests that CellNetix provides.
Under the terms of the agreement, CollabRx medical and scientific knowledge will be incorporated into the results of genetic sequencing-based tests in oncology provided by CellNetix.
As CellNetix puts it, the partnership will allow it to “leverage CollabRx's dynamically updated knowledge base in molecular medicine, ensuring that the latest medical and scientific data is made available to ordering physicians to aid in their interpretation of test results and inform patient treatment planning.”
That knowledge base CollabRx offers includes the clinical impact of specific genetic profiles and is supported by its large and growing network of more than 75 leading clinical practitioners in the United States and Europe.
The genesis for the partnership deal goes back to 2013, says Pat Cooke, chief information officer and executive director of business operations for CellNetix, when Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories LLC (PAML) bought a percentage share of CellNetix, with a view toward creating a national oncology product, part of that being a next-generation sequencing panel.
“So, in turn that got us looking for curated content, and we started that search in August 2013 or thereabouts and looked at various companies—not that there are that many, to be honest—and spoke to a few, and it came down to CollabRx and another company, and the pricing at CollabRx was attractive for us, as well as being impressed by their content,” Cooke relates. “The entry point was a good one, as we didn’t have to spend a huge amount of money to get started—they have a business model that meant we could grow a business without having to go out and fund a lot in advance.”
As he noted in the news release about the deal, “CollabRx has developed a highly scalable technology platform and process to provide a key part of the diagnostic test report for clinical genetic sequencing in cancer. These IT tools and services are essential to dynamically associate the latest medical and scientific knowledge with the results of tumor mutation profiling conducted by CellNetix. We are excited to work with CollabRx to provide a best-in-class medical informatics solution that will enable physicians to take a tumor's molecular characteristics into consideration when determining a cancer treatment plan.”
As Cooke tells DDNews, his company believes CollabRx does a good job with their content, “and if they continue to do so they will be our partner for a long time,” he adds. “With their help, we want to provide a reimbursable, affordable next-gen sequencing panel focused on actionable mutations, not the scattershot approach often used in healthcare.”
For now, the effort is focused on cancer, though Cooke says the companies will probably expand to work involving germ lines eventually as well.
The partnership is important for CollabRx as well, and not just because of the money involved.
This partnership with CellNetix represents the first time that CollabRx has formed such a relationship with such a large and influential private pathology company; this, according to Thomas Mika, chairman, president and CEO of CollabRx, “demonstrates the company's accelerating pace of business and channel development in 2014. This new milestone attests to the growing adoption of CollabRx technology and interpretive analytics in top-tier laboratories worldwide as a standard aspect of test reporting for clinical genetic sequencing in cancer and other diseases.”
“CellNetix has combined peer-to-peer collaboration and clinical expertise with technological innovation to dramatically impact the delivery of healthcare by individual physicians and hospital systems,” Mika added in the news release about the deal. “CollabRx is privileged to partner with CellNetix, the largest and most comprehensive pathology company in the Pacific Northwest, to link clinical genetic sequencing test results with expert-vetted therapy considerations to result in the best possible care for cancer patients.”
In other recent news, CellNetix and PAML—a full-service national reference laboratory located in Spokane, Wash.—announced the launch of a joint venture anatomic pathology reference laboratory separately branded as Symbiodx. A major focus of this new venture will be on molecular oncology with a broad offering of molecular tests including next-generation sequencing, immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry and cytogenetics.

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