Dx Digest: Roche and Lilly team up for Alzheimer's testing; Quanterix sets sights on Asia, weighs IPO for 2016

Welcome to Dx Digest, where FierceMedicalDevices highlights the highs and sometimes lows of the past week in the diagnostics industry. Roche Diagnostics teamed up with pharma heavyweight Eli Lilly to create a new test for Alzheimer's. Quanterix is setting its sights on Asia for growth and is mulling an IPO to spur development of its diagnostic device, Simoa. And OncoCyte struck a deal with The Wistar Institute to market a liquid biopsy test for lung cancer, months after the company reeled in new funding to bolster research and commercialization for its tests. Read on for the details. And as always, feel free to contact us with any comments or questions. -- Emily Wasserman (email | Twitter)

Roche and Lilly target Alzheimer's with new test collaboration

Roche Diagnostics ($RHHBY) and Eli Lilly ($LLY) are joining forces to create a test that can identify amyloid-beta 1-42, a marker of Alzheimer's disease in cerebrospinal fluid. About 5.3 million Americans may have Alzheimer's, and the disease is expected to affect more than 7.4 million individuals in the country by 2025.

Neither side is revealing financial details. But under the terms of the deal, Lilly will fork over certain milestone payments "upon successful completion of key development objectives" and Roche will cover marketing and development for the new test, the companies said in a statement.

"We are excited to partner with Roche Diagnostics on this important test," Phyllis Ferrell, VP of Lilly's Alzheimer's disease platform, said in a statement. "We share the same commitment to providing people with Alzheimer's disease the best care possible, which includes detection as well as diagnosis and education." More

Quanterix expands in Asia, mulls IPO in 2016

Quanterix is kicking off the new year with ambitious growth plans, and part of its strategy involves making moves in Asia. The company is tapping Cold Spring Biotech to distribute its Simoa diagnostic device in China and is also looking to expand its reach into Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. "Some of the world's leading researchers in China have been asking for Simoa since we launched the technology 18 months ago and now can harness its power in their own labs to drive innovative research in oncology, neurology, cardiology, inflammation and other disease areas impacting human health," Quanterix CEO Kevin Hrusovsky said in a statement.

But that's not all Quanterix has on its agenda this year. The Lexington, MA-based company has said for a while now that it would launch an IPO to spur growth. Now, the company could be poised to go public after recent growth and market expansion. Quanterix has raised $54 million to date and is in the middle of an undisclosed round, Hrusovsky told The Boston Business Journal. But the timing of an IPO will depend on market conditions and acquisition opportunities, Hrusovsky said. Statement | Story

OncoCyte strikes liquid biopsy deal with Wistar for lung cancer Dx

It's a popular time to be in the liquid biopsy business, as OncoCyte knows well, and the company is making moves to keep abreast of the competition. OncoCyte inked a deal with biomedical research center The Wistar Institute to pick up the exclusive rights to commercialize a lung cancer test developed through the pair's collaboration.

OncoCyte and Wistar have been working on a lung cancer diagnostic since 2013. But in 2015, new clinical data showed that the tool demonstrated high levels of observed sensitivity and specificity when trying to identify patients at risk for lung cancer. Now OncoCyte and Wistar are putting the finishing touches on the test. If all goes according to plan, OncoCyte will launch the test this year, the Alameda, CA-based company said in a statement.

"This global licensing agreement is an important milestone as we move toward commercializing our blood test for lung cancer," OncoCyte CEO William Annett said in a statement. "… Today's standard of care, [low-dose computed tomography] screening, has a high false positive rate, so our lung cancer test is intended to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs to the healthcare system through the early and accurate detection of cancer." Release