LabCorp inks companion diagnostic deal with Verastem

Verastem ($VSTM) has signed on with LabCorp ($LH) to validate biomarkers and develop companion diagnostics for VS-6063, the company's in-development mesothelioma treatment.

The drugmaker is hoping to accelerate the development and approval process with the biomarkers, planning to use them in clinical studies in ovarian cancer and mesothelioma for VS-6063, and, once the assay is validated, Verastem plans to pitch the drug and companion diagnostic to the FDA at the same time.

Verastem has already conducted studies to determine which patient groups will be most responsive to VS-6063, which is a a focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibitor, laying the groundwork for a future companion diagnostic, Verastem VP Dan Paterson said.

"We believe the approximately 50% of mesothelioma patients lacking Merlin may be particularly responsive to treatment with FAK inhibitors," Paterson said in a statement. "LabCorp is the perfect partner to progress our research on Merlin into a companion diagnostic for VS-6063."

For LabCorp, partnering with Verastem dovetails with the company's mission to expand its personalized medicine presence, CEO David King said. Much like co-giant Quest Diagnostics ($DGX), LabCorp is facing a declining demand for clinical testing services, but both companies are working to expand their presences in the burgeoning companion diagnostics world.

- read the statement

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