Roche, Merck to collaborate on cancer diagnostics

Roche Diagnostics will collaborate with Merck on the development of diagnostic assays for use with the latter's investigational cancer therapy portfolio.

Under the agreement, Roche will provide validated, standardized assays for use in Merck's clinical oncology programs. Merck also will expand its use of Roche's investigational AmpliChip p53 assay in its clinical programs; the two companies already have a collaboration through which Merck can access this test.

"Effective use of companion diagnostics is an important component of our oncology development strategy focused on targeted therapies," said Gary Gilliland, senior VP and head of oncology research at Merck, in a statement. "This collaboration provides Merck with access to diverse developmental and commercial diagnostic technologies that will facilitate the identification and monitoring of those patients most likely to respond to our investigational cancer therapies."

The two didn't disclose any financial details of the pact.

As Reuters notes, the partnership deepens the relationship between the two companies, which recently announced a co-promotion arrangement for hepatitis C drugs.

- get the Merck/Roche release
- check out the Reuters report