Owlstone Medical Enters Partnership with Bicycle Therapeutics for the Development of Antigen-Targeted EVOC Probes for Early Cancer Detection

Published on: 15 Mar 2023, under Cancer

  • Research will focus on applying Bicycle’s bicyclic peptide technology to Owlstone’s EVOC probes
  • Antigen-targeted EVOC probes have potential for use in preclinical research, clinical trials, and as companion diagnostics and tests for early detection of disease
  • Initial research will focus on the early detection of lung cancer

Cambridge, UK, March 15 2023: Owlstone Medical (“Owlstone”), the global leader in Breath Biopsy® for applications in early disease detection and precision medicine, today announced that it has entered into a Research Agreement with Bicycle Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ: BCYC, “Bicycle”), a biotechnology company pioneering a new and differentiated class of therapeutics based on its proprietary bicyclic peptide (Bicycle®) technology.

Under the Agreement, the Companies will investigate the potential of combining technologies and methods to develop antigen-targeted diagnostic probes that use bicyclic peptides as their targeting mechanism linked with Owlstone’s Exogenous Volatile Organic Compound (EVOC®) probes. Work will initially focus on lung cancer screening as the first proof of principle for the broader opportunity by promoting selective accumulation of the probe at the tumor for increased signal and enhanced specificity.

If successful, the resulting antigen-targeted EVOC probes will have the potential for use in pre-clinical research to support both cell-based and in-vivo studies; in clinical trials for patient stratification and measurement of target engagement; and as companion diagnostics to identify responders/non-responders for therapy selection and to measure target engagement over the course of treatment.

Owlstone is developing diagnostic tests in areas of high unmet clinical need including for the early detection of lung cancer, the most common cancer in the world. To support this effort, Owlstone has pioneered the use of EVOC Probes1 in early detection and precision medicine, with the Company’s lead EVOC Probe in clinical trials. This probe utilizes the activity of enzymes expressed within the tumor microenvironment to release a volatile reporter chemical that can be detected on breath when a tumor is present. The combined approach to be explored under the Agreement will exploit Bicycle’s proprietary Bicycle technology to direct binding and accumulation of the probe on tumor cells, following which increased levels of the reporter chemical would be released.

Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, said: “We are committed at Owlstone to transforming diagnostics through the earlier detection of disease through breath, and are always seeking innovative approaches to further enhance the performance of our tests. Through our partnership with Bicycle, we will jointly explore the exciting possibilities of a combined antigen-targeted EVOC approach for a broad range of precision medicine applications, initially for the early detection of lung cancer to support Owlstone’s ongoing work in this area.”


Notes to Editors:

For more information please contact:

Sarah Jeffery, Zyme Communications


+44 (0) 7771-730919


Frazer Hall, MEDiSTRAVA Consulting


+44 203 928 6900


1. https://www.owlstonemedical.com/science-technology/evoc-probes/

About Owlstone Medical (www.owlstonemedical.com):

Owlstone Medical’s vision is to save 100,000 lives by realizing the enormous promise of breath-based diagnostics through the development and application of Breath Biopsy®, a unique platform capable of both biomarker discovery and use in routine clinical testing.

The platform includes ReCIVA®, a proprietary sample collection device that can take stable breath samples anywhere, the world’s only commercial Breath Biopsy Laboratory located in Cambridge, U.K., and the Breath Biopsy VOC Atlas, the most extensive catalogue of identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) commonly found on breath.  The Company’s technology is protected by over 120 granted and pending patents and has been used in more than 100 research papers.

Owlstone Medical’s Research Products and Services are being deployed at over 100 sites around the world with large pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca, Actelion (a J&J company), and GlaxoSmithKline, and leading academic institutions. Projects are supported by Breath Biopsy OMNI®, the most advanced solution for reliable end-to-end global breath VOC analysis, which is helping researchers advance biomarker discovery and disease research and maximizing the chances of finding clinically relevant breath biomarkers.

The company has an active portfolio of Breath Biopsy tests in development for the early detection of lung cancer and liver disease, both areas of high unmet clinical need that represent multi-billion dollar market opportunities. In digestive health, clinical tests for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and carbohydrate malabsorption are already on market, and breath testing is emerging as an effective way for patients to monitor and manage symptoms.

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