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LabCorp (LH) Inks Deal to Assess Disparities in Drug Development

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Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LH - Free Report) or LabCorp recently partnered with Community Clinical Oncology Research Network, LLC (CCORN) to better understand the impact of disparities in precision medicine for cancer patients through information gathered from patient registry and biobank.

The information from the biobank and patient registry will be utilized to design future cancer clinical trials, assist in patient recruitment efforts and help encourage the expansion of genomic profiling testing in diverse populations.

Per management, this collaboration will ensure that oncology clinical research reaches community oncology practices that serve cancer patients from diverse populations.

Details of the Collaboration

The PREFER (Prospective rEgistry oF advanced stage cancER) patient registry will provide key insights derived from clinical and laboratory data concerning the unmet needs of cancer patients from diverse populations. This patient registry will enroll up to 2,500 patients with advanced solid-tumor cancer from multiple sites across the United States, starting Sep 1, 2021. The OmniSeq INSIGHT, a tissue-based test, will be used to detect the prevalence of actionable biomarkers and driver mutations, which are unique to different ethnicities.

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Labcorp and CCORN will also create a biobank that will enable the broader oncology community to access real-world evidence and identify the source of disparities.

Significance of the Collaboration

Despite the progress made to improve cancer medicine outcomes, current standards of care remain inadequate, in part due to lack of accessibility and diversity in clinical trials, and limited access to advanced diagnostic testing. The drug development processes have been rather unsuccessful in reflecting demographic diversity in clinical trials, which further contributes to disparities in care and outcomes for a diverse patient population.

Per CCORN management, the recent partnership with Labcorp will be a major step toward assessing the disparities in cancer drug development.

Industry Prospects

Per a report published in Grand View Research, the global oncology clinical trials market is expected to see a CAGR of 5.4% from 2020 to 2027. Factors such as increasing number of cancer cases, growing need for personalized medicines, rise in the R&D activities in oncology and supportive government initiatives are expected to drive the market during the forecast period.

Given the market prospects, LabCorp’s recent partnership to help design future cancer clinical trials in diverse patient population seems well-timed.

Notable Developments

In August 2021, LabCorp acquired Ovia Health, a digital health platform that is utilized by women seeking information and support with family planning, pregnancy and parenting. Through this acquisition, the company expects to expand its leadership in women’s health solutions. This buyout will also open new avenues for personalized care experiences and facilitate better dialogue between health care providers and their patients.

In July 2021, Labcorp began offering clonoSEQ, the first FDA-approved test to monitor the residual cancer cells in a patient’s body during and after treatment for lymphoid cancers. The recent offering by Labcorp is expected to expand its capabilities for diagnosing and detecting blood cancers. The clonoSEQ test, developed by Adaptive Biotechnologies, uses next-generation sequencing technology and proprietary bioinformatics to provide powerful insights from diagnosis, through treatment and into survivorship.

In the same month, the company launched the therascreen KRAS PCR Mutation Analysis, a companion diagnostic for a new treatment option developed by Amgen. The therascreen KRAS will identify patients with non-small cell lung cancer who are eligible for treatment with Amgen’s LUMAKRAS (sotorasib).

Share Price Performance

The stock has outperformed its industry over the past year. It has grown 67.6% compared to the industry’s 27.8% growth

Zacks Rank and Other Key Picks

Currently, LabCorp carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A few similar-ranked stocks from the Medical-Dental Supplies industry include Merit Medical Systems, Inc. (MMSI - Free Report) , Henry Schein, Inc. (HSIC - Free Report) and West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (WST - Free Report) , each sporting a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

Merit Medical has a long-term earnings growth rate of 13.6%.

Henry Schein has a long-term earnings growth rate of 13.9%.

West Pharmaceutical has a long-term earnings growth rate of 28.4%.