Ventana to work with Seattle Genetics, Millennium on companion Dx

The companion diagnostic trend continues and Ventana Medical Systems is involved yet again. This morning, Seattle Genetics ($SGEN) and Takeda's Millennium unit announced that they are working with the Roche company on a companion diagnostic test for use in a study involving Adcetris.

The Seattle Genetics-Millennium offering was approved last year for relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma and systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma. But now, Millennium and Seattle Genetics are seeking a more personalized, targeted approach with the treatment. Through the collaboration, Ventana will seek to develop a molecular companion diagnostic test to identify those patients who might respond to treatment with Adcetris based on CD30 expression levels in their tissue specimens.

As part of their clinical development of the cancer treatment, Millennium and Seattle Genetics are plotting two Phase III studies that will use the companion diagnostic, one in CD30-positive cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and the other in CD30-positive mature T-cell lymphomas.

But the partners think Adcetris could hold promise in other CD30-expressing lymphoma and non-lymphoma malignancies, as Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports.

"Although the identification of CD30 expression and its role in the diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma and systemic ALCL is well-established, CD30 expression in other malignancies is more heterogeneous," explains Thomas Reynolds, CMO of Seattle Genetics. "The collaboration with Ventana provides an opportunity for development of a diagnostic tool to identify patients who may benefit from Adcetris treatment."

Seattle Genetics and Millennium are hardly the first companies Ventana has worked with in the companion diagnostic arena. This year alone, it announced deals with several companies--Pfizer, Bayer, to name but two--on companion diagnostics.

Companion diagnostics have been hot lately--particularly with their potential to save the healthcare system money. Big Pharma companies are charging hefty prices for their meds and hoping payers will cover them. With a more targeted population for the pricey meds, perhaps these payers would be more willing to do so.

- check out the release
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