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Q&A: Mats Grahn, CEO of Immunovia

Mats Grahn

Immunovia has achieved a major milestone; their commercial test model study recently showed that their blood test had a 95% accuracy for pancreatic cancer, and the company is now on track for commercialization of the IMMray PanCan-d commercial biomarker signature.

What are the advantages with your test?

“IMMray is an antibody-based technology that creates a snapshot of the immune system response – from a single drop of blood. Our first clinical application is a blood test called IMMray PanCan-d for the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. A test for the early detection of pancreatic cancer (stages I and II) when treatment is possible and effective has the potential to dramatically increase patient survival rates. We are focusing on persons with increased risk for pancreas cancer, such as familiar or hereditary pancreatic cancer risk individuals, new onset diabetes type II patients over 50 years and patients with vague symptoms profiles in combination with other risk factors. When we launch IMMray PanCan-d in the USA in Q3 this year, it will be first ever blood test for pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancer forms with a current five year survival rate from diagnosis of only five to eight percent.”

How have you prepared for market launch?

“Obviously, the fact that IMMray PanCan-d offers an entirely new approach for early detection of pancreatic cancer, has gained a lot of interest from all stakeholders; from regulators to healthcare professionals, payers and not least the patients. We have our US offices in Boston, where we also have a laboratory that will serve our US customers, and we have a scalable organization for sales and marketing, logistics and distribution. It has been crucial to establish a network of key opinion leaders and healthcare professionals as a part of our study programs to understand how the tests will be used in clinical practice. Collaborations with patient organizations has also been a focus for us as they play an important role in influencing treatment guidelines and decision makers.”

What opportunities do you have on the market for cancer blood tests?

“Cancer diseases recently surpassed cardiovascular diseases as the leading cause of death in the highly industrialized world. This increases the need for diagnostics. As pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancer forms and most often is diagnosed too late, early detection is crucial. Each year, 338 000 people globally are diagnosed and the number is growing rapidly. Immunovia’s addressable market is persons with familiar or hereditary pancreatic cancer risk, new onset diabetes type II patients over 50 years and patients with vague symptoms profiles in combination with other risk factors. These market segments represent a total market opportunity in the US and Europe of over 4 BUSD at full penetration. With an early detection (stages I or II), the five year survival can increase from five percent to up to 50 percent in cases of detection and treatment at stage I. When we launch IMMray PanCan-d it will be the first blood test on the market, which hopefully will change the survival rates dramatically over time. In the US we have set up a system of collaborations making it possible for people to have blood tests performed in their homes (phlebotomy), which is also a clear advantage for market penetration.”

What’s next? What’s on Immunovia’s agenda for 2020?

“2020 is our US launch year, and we are looking forward to it immensely! It is groundbreaking, as this will be the first blood test ever for this indication. Yet another innovation sprung from Lund University! Besides the US launch, we will continue to develop our other clinical applications, such as lung cancer, and autoimmune diseases where we focus on rheumatoid arthritis. Our technology has many future possibilities.”

Photo of Mats Grahn: Immunovia