Abbott, GlaxoSmithKline expand agreement to develop companion diagnostic test

Abbott Molecular (NYSE: ABT) and GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals S.A. (GSK) are expanding an existing agreement between the two companies to include the development of an additional companion diagnostic test in support of GSK's cancer immunotherapy research program.

Abbott Molecular (NYSE: ABT; Abbott Park, IL) and GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals S.A. (GSK; Rixensart, Belgium) are expanding an existing agreement between the two companies to include the development of an additional companion diagnostic test in support of GSK's cancer immunotherapy research program. Companion diagnostic tests are designed to identify specific DNA sequences to help guide physicians in determining which patients are more or less likely to benefit from a particular therapy.

The existing agreements between the two companies, announced in July 2009 and March 2010, focused on the development of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to screen non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma tumors for expression of the MAGE-A3 antigen. Under the expanded agreement, Abbott will develop a PCR test for use on its m2000rt instrument to screen non-small cell lung cancer tumors for the expression of the PRAME antigen. PRAME is a preferentially expressed antigen of melanoma that is expressed in 69 percent of non-small cell lung cancer cases, as well as in melanoma, breast, ovarian, and bladder cancer, with limited expression in normal cells.

The expanded collaboration demonstrates Abbott's continued commitment to assessing biomarkers linked to immunotherapies in various cancers, says Stafford O'Kelly, head of Abbott's molecular diagnostics business. The agreement enables scientific advances in personalized medicine and companion diagnostics to help ensure that the right medicines get to the right cancer patients, he says.

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