Dx Digest: Sysmex and Eisai take on dementia with latest testing pact; Apogenix scores €3M for cancer companion Dx

Welcome to Dx Digest, where FierceMedicalDevices highlights the highs and sometimes lows of the past week in the diagnostics industry. Japan's Sysmex and pharma company Eisai are teaming up to create next-generation diagnostics for dementia. Apogenix got a €3 million grant from the German government to develop a companion diagnostic for its lead cancer treatment for malignant tumors. And French molecular diagnostics company ImmunID snagged funding from the U.K. government to further its companion diagnostic for metastatic skin cancer. Read on for the details. And as always, feel free to contact us with any comments or questions. -- Emily Wasserman (email | Twitter)

Sysmex joins with Eisai to develop next-generation dementia tests

Scientists are developing Alzheimer's and dementia tests that can point to early signs of the disease. Now Sysmex and Eisai are getting in on the action, teaming up to create diagnostics that can screen for and monitor dementia in patients.

Under the terms of the deal, Kobe, Japan-based Sysmex will handle diagnostics development and marketing once the tests get regulatory approval. Tokyo-based drugmaker Eisai will get payments for meeting certain milestones, launching products and will also reap royalties on sales. The company also plans to use the next-generation tests for drug discovery and drug development, the pair said in a statement.

The collaboration could spur new discoveries in the field and improve testing for dementia. Traditional screening relies heavily on brain imaging exams and cerebrospinal fluid tests, both of which are costly and time-consuming measures. "As such, there is a need for the development of technologies that will enable diagnoses to be made in a manner that is easy, affordable and less invasive," the companies said in a statement. More

Apogenix snags €3 million grant for cancer companion diagnostic

One can only go so far in biopharma these days without a companion diagnostic test. Apogenix is wise to the trend and recently got €3 million ($3.34 million) from the German Federal Ministry of Education to flesh out a companion diagnostic test for its therapy for malignant tumors.

The Heidelberg, Germany-based company will get the cash under the CancerMark project, an initiative launched this month that will provide funding over three years, Apogenix said in statement. The company is working with R-Biopharm to develop companion diagnostics for APG101, its lead cancer treatment.

Apogenix has already shown APG101's promise in a Phase II proof-of-concept trial in patients with recurrent glioblastoma, or malignant tumors. Now, with more than €11 million in grants under its belt, the company is planning to launch a study that will demonstrate the test's effectiveness in identifying patients who can benefit from the therapy.

"The upcoming clinical trial to confirm the companion diagnostic test is an important milestone toward approval of APG101 for the treatment of glioblastoma, so patients can benefit from a personalized treatment approach," Apogenix CEO Thomas Hoeger said in a statement. Statement

French companion diagnostic firm reels in new funds for skin cancer test

France's ImmunID got funding from U.K. innovation agency Innovate UK to develop its companion diagnostic test for skin cancer. The company, along with key U.K. healthcare bodies, will use the funds to see how well ImmunID's test can identify patients with metastatic melanoma who are a good fit for certain therapies.

ImmunID will draw on results from a clinical study of 40 skin cancer patients in the U.K. who underwent treatment with an immunotherapy. The company will also launch a trial to show the economic benefits of the test to the National Health Service (NHS), the U.K.'s healthcare system.

"Our key priority is to show that [the test] is the tool to identify patients who benefit and to guide doctors through a maze of immunotherapy choices in the future," ImmunID CEO Bernhard Sixt said in a statement. "We believe that this program has the potential to demonstrate medico-economic benefit not only for the U.K. but globally." Release