US-based biotechnology company Tempus has expanded its collaboration with British drugmaker AstraZeneca, focused on biomarker testing for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

In September last year, Tempus and AstraZeneca started their collaboration with a pilot programme to identify a specific care gap at participating provider sites, using Tempus Next.

Tempus Next is an AI-based platform that enables healthcare systems to generate data to help find suitable patients for proactive care and disease management.

The initial partnership used AI to scan unstructured clinical data to understand which patients may be eligible for testing based on clinical guidelines and notify treating physicians.

The pilot’s initial success paved the way for an expansion of the program to support the deployment of the care pathway model in a total of 15 provider sites.

The expanded collaboration will leverage the Tempus’ Next platform to provide physicians with guideline-directed biomarker testing for NSCLC.

It will enable the updates to oncology guidelines each year to be rapidly incorporated into treatment plans for NSCLC patients.

The two companies will conduct a pilot to help physicians determine if their patients may benefit from molecular testing, including epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations.

Tempus AI applications senior vice president Chris Scotto DiVetta said: “Next was designed to ensure all patients have access to treatment plans based on the most up-to-date guidelines by equipping physicians with cutting-edge tools in their existing workflows to support the delivery of evidence-based care.

“We were excited to see initial success in this program and look forward to contributing to a future where advanced technology and medical expertise unite to improve outcomes for all patients.”

In a separate development, Tempus has announced the clinical launch of its minimal residual disease (MRD) test portfolio, including Tempus’ xM test and the xM test by Personalis.

The portfolio features both a tumour-naïve assay and a tumour-informed, which will help detect residual disease or early cancer recurrence and monitor for immunotherapy treatment response.

Tempus said that the two new assays will further complement its broad testing portfolio.

Tempus chief development officer Halla Nimeiri said: “MRD testing is the perfect complement to our comprehensive testing portfolio, as we are now equipping physicians with a proactive solution that provides early-stage cancer insights for their patients that is critical to their care.

“We believe it is important to offer a portfolio of both a rapid, tumor-naïve test and an ultra-sensitive, tumor-informed test so that physicians have optionality in addressing each of their patient’s specific needs.”