Abbott inks companion diagnostic deals with a pair of biotechs

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Abbott struck companion diagnostic deals with two biotech companies to use its PCR testing to identify mutations in leukemia patients that would make them a good fit for therapy.  

The company will work with Celgene ($CELG) and Agios Pharmaceuticals ($AGIO) to develop tests that run on its m2000 RealTime System. The tool pinpoints isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutations in individuals with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) to see if they’d respond to the companies’ new treatments for the disease.

Celgene and Agios have already used Abbott’s system in clinical trials, including a Phase III study that compares Celgene’s new treatment for the disease with conventional therapy in older patients with an IDH2 mutation and relapsed or refractory AML, the companies said in a statement.

IDH1 and IDH2 mutations crop up in 20% of AML patients, the company said, so having a tool that could identify them sooner could better direct treatment.

“AML is a complex and heterogeneous disease, making it difficult to treat,” Han Myint, vice president of Celgene’s global medical affairs, myeloid business, said in a statement. “Molecular profiling is important to identify genomic mutations which may have prognostic and potential treatment implications for patients with AML.”

The partnerships come at a critical moment. Personalized medicine is all the rage in the diagnostics industry, and more companies are pairing up with biotech or pharma partners to develop targeted companion diagnostic tests.

Abbott is far from the only one jumping on the bandwagon. Last week, Exosome Diagnostics said it would partner with biotech heavyweight Amgen ($AMGN) to create a liquid biopsy test for drug development.