Abbott, GSK unit expand companion diagnostic agreement

Abbott ($ABT) and GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals ($GSK) are expanding an existing agreement to include the development of an additional companion diagnostic test in support of the latter's cancer immunotherapy research program.

Under this new agreement, Abbott will develop a polymerase chain reaction test to screen non-small cell lung cancer tumors for the expression of the PRAME antigen. The PCR test will be designed for use on the Abbott m2000rt instrument.

In 2009, the two announced an agreement covering the development of a PCR test to screen non-small cell lung cancer for expression of the MAGE-A3 antigen. The following year, the collaborators agreed to develop a test to help select patients who may benefit from a skin cancer treatment in development by GSK. The test also is intended to detect MAGE-A3.

"This expanded collaboration, along with Abbott's other recently announced partnerships in oncology, demonstrates the continued commitment Abbott is making to assess biomarkers linked to immunotherapies in various cancers," said Stafford O'Kelly, head of Abbott's molecular diagnostics business. "This agreement is a testament to the scientific advances Abbott and the industry [are] making in personalized medicine and companion diagnostics, which are helping ensure the right medicines get to the right cancer patients."

- check out Abbott's release

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