These start-up that heal our future

Precision Medicine - Biomarkers & Diagnostics

These start-up that heal our future

Pancreatic cancer: the right treatment for the right patient

Acobiom developed a diagnostic test to better target the treatment of pancreatic cancer patients. An innovation that should be on the market in 2019.

5%. The five-year survival rate of pancreatic cancer is extremely low. The Acobiom startup, located at the Euromedicine Biopole in Montpellier, wanted to remedy this. Almost incurable, the disease represents 10,000 new cases per year in France. Specialized in personalized medicine, Acobiom aims to help in the choice of the most appropriate treatment for each patient. “We develop diagnostics that identify whether the patient is a good responder to a specific therapy,” says CEO Didier Ritter. Every patient reacts differently to a drug and the ““one-size-fits-all” approach to treat patients is no longer appropriate,” says Didier Ritter. For cancer, the most effective therapy should be given from the beginning. This is the purpose of personalized medicine. Otherwise, we risk wasting time with heavy treatments. “In oncology, 75% of patients are reported to be resistant to at least one class of drugs. In the case of pancreatic cancer, several therapies are available. Gemcitabine treatment is effective on a part of the population, with very limited side effects and a much lower cost than other treatments. Acobiom created GemciTest to determine if patient will respond positively to this protocol. “Patients who respond well, those who are not affected and those who suffered from toxic effects of therapy are identified. From a blood sample, we know if a patient is sensitive or resistant to this treatment. »

Survival increases from 6.5 to 15 months

The results of the clinical studies are spectacular. If gemcitabine is administered only to patients who respond well, the average one-year survival rate increases from 20 to 65%, and the median survival rate of patients is almost tripled, from 6.5 to 15 months. “This approach has several advantages: it improves the survival and quality of life of the patient, as well as savings for healthcare system financers,” explains Didier Ritter.

The start-up has been working on this experiment since 2009. So far, the study has been conducted on 120 people. “We will now conduct tests on 100 American patients to obtain approval from the Food and Drug Administration to commercialize the test in the United States. In total, we would like to reach 300 and 450 patients. “The objective is to bring the gemcitest to market in 2019.

Article published in the “Gazette de Montpellier” n° 1529 of 10/05/2017