Foundation Medicine is part of an effort to advance new clinical trial design in lung cancer

Foundation Medicine Inc., a Cambridge cancer diagnostics start-up that has attracted high-profile financial backers such as Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, said Thursday that it has partnered with a coalition of groups to advance a revolutionary new clinical trial design for lung cancer.

Bill Gates. File photo. Ramin Talaie/Getty Images.

The partnership includes Friends of Cancer Research as well as federal health and regulatory agencies, pharmaceutical companies, multiple cooperative groups, and patient advocacy organizations. The goal of the partnership is to develop the clinical trial design for the “Master Protocol” study in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, a common subtype of non-small cell lung cancer, the leading cancer killer of men and women in the US, the company said in a press release.

In a statement, Ellen V. Sigal, chairperson and founder of Friends of Cancer Research, said: “Foundation Medicine’s comprehensive genomic platform is a critical component of the trial design, which requires the ability to identify all classes of genomic alterations across many different genes from one patient tissue sample, which ultimately informs the drug or drugs each patient will receive in the trial. This revolutionary clinical trial will provide a new perspective on our current system, saving time, money and lives. Our vision is that the concept and design of the Master Protocol study will serve as a model for future trials to accelerate the way new targeted therapies are developed and moved through the regulatory process to patients.”

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Foundation Medicine had its initial public offering of stock shares in September. Shares nearly doubled in their first day of public trading.