UK liquid biopsy company, Angle, has agreed a supplier agreement with AstraZeneca to develop a Parsotix-based Androgen Receptor (AR) assay for use in prostate cancer studies.

Angle’s Parsotix system captures and harvests circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in the blood prior to downstream analysis, while an AR is a nuclear protein involved in cell growth and cycle progression, protein synthesis, and cell death.

Under the agreement with AstraZeneca, which is valued at £550,000, Angle will develop the assay in its UK laboratories. The company says the development of the assay will demonstrate the importance of its Parsortix system in assessing the efficacy of prostate cancer therapeutics.

The pair up with AstraZeneca for the AR assay marks an extension of a previous agreement to develop a methodology for detecting CTC micronuclei using its DNA Damage Response (DDR) assay.

Angle CEO Andrew Newland commented: “This is further validation of Angle’s Parsortix system, which shows potential for long-term large-scale revenues in bringing innovative new cancer drugs to the market.

“We anticipate that success in this first phase of assay development may lead to much larger contracts for use of the assay in clinical trials.”

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Angle’s chief scientific officer Karen Miller added: “The new androgen receptor assay will also be an important addition to the menu of assays we can offer other customers.”

Previous assays developed by Angle include its Portrait Flex CTC assay to advance personalised cancer care.

The news follows Angle’s announcement that the European Patent Office (EPO) granted a European patent for its CellKeep slide to improve the capture of CTCs. The company said at the time it had also received formal communication from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), indicating the grant of its equivalent US patent application was imminent.

The CellKeep slide has been developed by the company over a three-year period to address the loss of CTCs during common laboratory microscopy techniques used for their analysis.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has estimated the annual mortality due to prostate cancer is projected to account for over 700,000 deaths annually by 2040, up from approximately 400,000 deaths in 2022.

GlobalData’s analysts suggest that while not as prevalent as lung cancer or colorectal cancer, the forecasted increase highlights the importance of detecting this cancerous type at the early stages in order to arrange suitable treatment.