Early lung cancer data back J&J’s Monarch
Interim data from the first human trial of the Monarch platform developed by Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Auris Health suggest that the robotic endoscopy system could be used to locate and biopsy suspected lung cancer. In the first 24 patients in the Benefit study the primary effectiveness endpoint, successful navigation to targeted peripheral pulmonary lesions, was reported in 92% of cases, with no significant adverse events. The trial will go on to enrol a further 30 subjects. Monarch uses a combination of direct visualisation, navigational guidance and radial endobronchial ultrasound; it was cleared by the FDA last year for diagnostic and therapeutic bronchoscopic procedures, despite having at that time only been used in cadaveric tissue. The intention is that lung nodules could be diagnosed with greater precision and more quickly than by traditional biopsy, saving healthcare systems cash, and it seems possible that the Benefit data will boost sales of the device. Whether it will provide enough of a sales bump to justify the $3.4bn J&J paid to acquire Auris in February is a different question.