GE launches cancer assay with eye on companion Dx

GE Healthcare ($GE) has been steadily building up its diagnostics offerings over the past three years, and now the company is launching a sequencing assay targeting solid tumors in clinical trials.

The assay, sold through GE's Clarient Diagnostic Services arm, is designed to help developers target patient populations and lead to companion deals down the road. The test is the first GE has launched since buying up the research lab SeqWright last year, and folding that company's capabilities into Clarient cleared the way for GE to develop cutting-edge diagnostics, the company said.

Its latest offering targets the 26 most common oncogenes and tumor-suppressor genes, present in lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and melanoma. More and more drugmakers are developing targeted therapies for cancer, Clarient said, and focusing on the most relevant and actionable genes will help the company serve a growing need in the industry, all part of GE's $1 billion investment in oncology R&D.

"When GE Healthcare acquired SeqWright last year, one goal was to add incremental value to our existing pharmaceutical and biotechnology partnerships throughout their drug development and companion diagnostic development efforts," Clarient CEO Carrie Eglinton-Manner said in a statement. "Availability of this next-generation assay is realization of that goal."

GE bought Clarient for $587 million back in 2010 and has gradually added to its diagnostic heft ever since, most recently striking a deal with Insight Genetics to develop a molecular diagnostic for ALK gene mutations, which are tied to lung and other cancers.

- read the announcement