Cardinal Health Specialty adds molecular diagnostics to its oncology support services

Agreement with KEW Group brings genetic screening and a pathway program

There’s an arms race among the Big Three wholesalers to capture more of the market for providing support services for community oncologists, and Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions has just added another weapon in its arsenal. Through an agreement with KEW Group (Cambridge, MA), oncologists participating in the Cardinal health Specialty Solutions network have access to KEW’s CancerPlex, a molecular diagnostic system that analyzes the genetics of individual patients’ tumors. This form of personalized medicine is growing in importance as the latest wave of oncology drugs become more tailored to specific genetic profiles. Earlier this year, Cardinal Health had joined several other private firms in funding a new round of investment for KEW.

Following delivery of a tumor specimen, KEW’s employs CancerPlex at its CLIA-certified laboratory to analyze over 410 cancer genes, then produces a comprehensive report that guides oncologists on recommended treatment options. The diagnostic can also serve as a screening mechanism for locating patients for clinical trials.

According to statements from both companies, the bulk of cancer treatments are still conducted by community oncologists rather than hospitals or cancer centers; Cardinal, like other wholesalers, provide specialty pharmaceutical distribution, office management support and related services to these oncologists. It has a network of oncologists who participate in clinical pathways for cancers; a clinical pathway is a detailed map of how a cancer therapy program should be carried out for individual patients. For its part, KEW has its own pathways program under way, working with seven oncology practices in various locations to develop therapy programs for a variety of cancers. The program is supported by a grant from CMS.