Qiagen partners with Lilly on companion diagnostic for blood cancer drug

Diagnostics developer Qiagen is continuing its strategy of partnering with large pharmaceutical companies to develop companion diagnostics using its biomarkers. The latest partnership for Qiagen is with Eli Lilly ($LLY) to develop a molecular companion diagnostic for an early stage investigational compound for blood cancers. Lilly is developing a compound called a JAK2 inhibitor, which targets the Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) gene. The gene plays a role in a variety of blood cancers. Qiagen will develop a diagnostic test to determine which patients are most likely to benefit from the drugs. 

One benefit of biomarkers for drug companies is that they can save time and money during clinical trials by helping to narrow down test subjects and to shut down trials early if they turn out to be dead ends. Qiagen gained exclusive access to the JAK2 biomarker through an agreement with the French company Ipsogen, a company that Qiagen is in the process of acquiring, according to a news release.

"The collaboration with Lilly is a strong testament to Qiagen's capabilities in companion diagnostics, biomarkers and personalized healthcare," Qiagen's Stephen Little said in a statement. "We look forward to developing the potential for this innovative diagnostic-therapeutic combination to improve the standard of care for patients suffering from these blood cancers."

In August, Qiagen announced a partnership with Pfizer to develop the companion diagnostic for use with the anti-cancer drug dacomitinib.

- read the release from Qiagen