Takeda engages Broad for genomic analysis of patient samples from PhIII cancer trial

Takeda has enlisted Broad Institute Genomic Services to analyze samples taken from patients who participated in a Phase III trial of its recently approved multiple myeloma drug, Ninlaro. The alliance is the first major external project unveiled by Broad Institute Genomic Services, which was set up last year by the renowned MIT-Harvard collaboration to support industry-sponsored clinical research.

Broad's services group landed the deal on the strength of its genomics platform, which is rattling off the equivalent of one human genome every 12 minutes now that its Illumina ($ILMN) HiSeq X Ten system is up and running. For Takeda, Broad applied its capabilities and know-how to the profiling of samples using a targeted panel interrogating 754 genes, which the partners designed collaboratively. Takeda took samples of tumor plasma cells from patients at the start of the trial. If the disease reappeared following an initial response or advanced during treatment, Takeda collected another sample.

As well as helping to design the panel, Broad carried out the RNA sequencing and DNA mutational analysis at its labs. Takeda is hoping the analysis of the samples will yield insights into the biology of multiple myeloma, potentially leading it to improved understanding of why sensitivity or resistance to proteasome inhibitor treatment occurs. Long term, Takeda thinks such insights could support the development of more effective treatments for multiple myeloma, which is a billion dollar business for the Japanese drugmaker.

Broad realized different benefits from the alliance. "Working closely with the group at Takeda allowed us to overcome unique challenges in implementing the proper regulatory elements to enable the generation of genomic data from clinical trials," Broad Institute's Jane Wilkinson said in a statement. "We have benefited from this relationship in the development of a high-quality system that provides the infrastructure to produce data in the type of regulated environment that is necessary for utilizing genomic data to improve therapeutic clinical trials going forward."

- read the release