Bristol-Myers Squibb pursues cancer biomarker development deal

Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) will collaborate with Adaptive Biotechnologies to develop immunological biomarkers for cancer, representing another step forward in the development of personalized medicine.

Neither side is disclosing financial details. But the arrangement matches up a pharmaceutical giant and a genomic sequencing assay startup in order to help propel the development of new, targeted drug treatments.

Adaptive Biotechnologies is in the field of genetic immunology, developing next-generation sequencing assays focused on the adaptive immune system. Its immunoSEQ test is designed specifically to map out T and B cell receptors, which influence how a body's immune system beats back disease. As part of their partnership, it will help ferret out biomarkers that could indicate drug response in cancer treatment and also which patients will best respond to a given drug based on how their immune system behaves. These are all valuable ingredients for drug development as companies increasingly focus on treatments that work for specific disease subsets, and Bristol-Myers Squibb's pipeline stands to gain.

Adaptive announced the partnership rather than BMS, highlighting the importance genomic sequencing companies can have to Big Pharma in their ability to identify biomarkers and propel the drug development process.

"Collaborating with Bristol-Myers Squibb is a real win for companies like ours that are committed to deepening the understanding of the interaction between the host immune system and the cancer cells themselves,"  Chad Robins, CEO and Founder of Adaptive Biotechnologies, said in a statement.

For Bristol-Myers Squibb, this isn't the only biomarker-related partnership in the mix. Earlier in April, for example, the company signed a lab services and biomarker study deal with LabCorp ($LH). This five-year deal is more about preserving a biomarker testing partnership that has already been in place, with LabCorp agreeing to become "the preferred provider" in Bristol-Myers Squibb's drug development process by providing lab, biomarker and specialty testing prowess.

- read the release

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