July 23, 2020

Bayer Inc. launches FastTRK, a complimentary clinical testing program for the diagnosis of NTRK gene fusions in TRK fusion cancer patients in Canada

MISSISSAUGA, ON (July 23, 2020) – Bayer Inc. is pleased to offer FastTRK for clinicians, a complimentary clinical testing program for the diagnosis of neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) gene fusions in TRK fusion cancer patients in Canada. Bayer will cover the full cost of the test regardless of the results, treatment decision and patient’s insurance coverage.

Some cancers are caused by specific changes in genes (referred to as ‘genomic alterations’). TRK fusion cancer is caused by the fusion of an NTRK gene with another unrelated gene. TRK fusion cancer can occur in any organ or tissue type in the body, in both children and adults. . FastTRK enables clinicians to test their patients’ cancer for the presence of an NTRK gene fusion across all solid tumour types. If an NTRK gene fusion is found, that patient may be eligible for a targeted treatment option.

“The FastTRK program allowed my patient with a symptomatic rapidly progressing rare sarcoma to access quick and free testing,” explains Dr. Shantanu Banerji, Clinician-Scientist, Department of Medical Oncology, Director of Precision Medicine and Advanced Therapeutics, CancerCare Manitoba, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba. “Through the FastTRK clinical testing program, my patient was diagnosed with an NTRK gene fusion. She has now been on a TRK inhibitor for over six months, is symptom free, and is able to function in society with minimal limitations.”

When an NTRK gene joins or “fuses” with an unrelated gene, it can produce an altered TRK fusion protein. This TRK fusion protein can become constantly active and cause a tumour to grow. As the scientific community continues to innovate in the realm of genomics, new options are becoming available that can help address unmet cancer patient needs and provide more tools to diagnose, manage and treat the disease. Studies show that 30-49% of patients who undergo genomic testing have alterations that can then be matched to a specific treatment that could benefit them.[1]

“As new treatment options are approved to help cancer patients in Canada, in this era of precision medicine, clinical diagnostic partnerships such as FastTRK are critical bridges to help clinicians identify which of their patients are candidates for specific targeted therapies,” says Dr. Shurjeel Choudhri, Senior Vice President and Head, Medical & Scientific Affairs for Bayer Inc.

Bayer founded the FastTRK program through partnerships with LifeLabs and the Kingston Health Sciences Centre, who are the initial labs that will be providing this centralized testing service. Bayer will support the FastTRK program until at least the end of 2021.

Who can get tested through FastTRK?

Patients with solid tumours that are metastatic or when surgical resection is likely to result in severe morbidity, and for whom no satisfactory treatment options are available, meet the criteria to be tested. Testing for NTRK gene fusions should be performed for patients with tumour types known to frequently harbour NTRK gene fusions.

A clinician must request the test. For more information on FastTRK or how to request a test, Healthcare professionals can visit www.fasttrk.ca or email fasttrk@bayer.com.

About Bayer

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2019, the Group employed around 104,000 people and had sales of 43.5 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.9 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.3 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.ca.


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[1] Massard C, Michiels S, Ferte C, et al. High-throughput genomics and clinical outcome in hard-to-treat advanced cancers: results of the MOSCATO 01 trial. Cancer Discovery 2017;7(6):586-595