Lilly cozies up to Qiagen for more companion diagnostics

Qiagen has expanded its companion diagnostics partnership with Eli Lilly--courtesy of Qiagen

Eli Lilly ($LLY) is expanding its partnership with Qiagen ($QGEN), building off of past success in a new broad collaboration agreement for companion diagnostics.

Last year, the pair made headlines as Qiagen's KRAS RGQ PCR helped Lilly and partner Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) nail down an expanded indication for cancer drug Erbitux. Now, Lilly is employing the company to collaborate on treatments across all its therapeutic areas, a deep dive into companion diagnostics and personalized medicine for the drugmaker.

"Tailored therapies are a key component of Lilly's strategy of providing improved outcomes for individual patients," Vice President Daniel Skovronsky said in a statement. "By working with partners like Qiagen, we are advancing a number of tailored therapeutics in an effort to target the right medicine to the right patient."

The big Erbitux approval seems to have galvanized Lilly's commitment to companion diagnostics, as the Qiagen deal follows a similar one last month when Lilly signed on with Agilent's ($A) Dako diagnostics unit to develop assays for its oncology pipeline. Before that, the drugmaker partnered with 2012 Fierce 15 winner PrimeraDx to use that company's ICEPlex assay-development platform.

Big Pharma's big buy-in to companion diagnostics is unlikely to shrink, as more and more blockbuster hopefuls are being developed with matching assays designed to sway regulators, payers and patients. Roche ($RHHBY) leads the pack, with CEO Severin Schwan saying 60% of the company's pipeline treatments will be packaged with complementary tests. And fellow heavyweights Pfizer ($PFE), AstraZeneca ($AZN) and BMS have all reached out to diagnostics companies to help target their treatments.

- read the release

Special Report: Qiagen's KRAS RGQ PCR Kit - Top 10 device and diagnostic FDA approvals of 2012

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