MDxHealth signs deal with Merck KGaA for cancer Dx

Molecular diagnostics firm MDxHealth ($MDXH) has inked a development and commercialization deal with Merck KGaA, looking to market a companion diagnostic test for one of the drugmaker's cancer treatments.

The companies didn't disclose the financial particulars of the deal, but they plan to use MDxHealth's PredictMDx test to determine which brain cancer patients might benefit from Merck KGaA's in-the-pipeline cilengitide. PredictMDx assesses the methylation of the MGMT gene promoter in glioblastoma patients, determining whether they'd respond to Merck KGaA's Phase III treatment.

Under the agreement, Merck KGaA will help MDxHealth get its test developed and approved, and then, assuming cilengitide gets a regulatory OK, the two will co-launch the drug and companion diagnostic. Neither company mentioned a timeline for that process.

The deal is reflective of a trend in pharma, as drugmakers seek big paydays in the diagnostics world, either through partnerships, acquisitions or in-house development. For MDxHealth, it's another spot of positive news, as the company earlier this week pulled in $12.6 million in private fundraising, looking to expand its molecular diagnostics for prostate and other cancers.

Jan Groen, the company's CEO, spoke to FierceBiomarkers at last month's BIO conference, saying that his and other diagnostics firms are poised to profit as personalized medicine advances and Big Pharma takes notice of its benefits.

- read the MDxHealth's statement