Pathwork, Novartis team up on tumor biomarkers

In a sign of the growing number of alliances between diagnostics companies and drug developers, Novartis has inked a pact with Pathwork Diagnostics to discover new biomarkers that can be used to diagnose tumors. Dow Jones notes that this is the second deal struck by Novartis's new molecular diagnostics group, citing its deal last October to work with Orion Genomics.

For a Big Pharma company like Novartis, this kind of diagnostics work will become increasingly important as marketers match new drugs with carefully defined patient groups. And Dow Jones' Brian Gormley adds that the new pact is an indication that biopharma companies are less and less willing to wait passively for others to advance the kind of diagnostic tools they'll need.

No financial details were divulged by either company. Both have the right to create and market new diagnostics with the proviso that they could also create a marketing alliance later on.

- here's the report from Dow Jones