Product News: Abbott and Merck Collaborate to Develop Companion Diagnostic Test

07 Mar 2012

Abbott has announced today that it is to collaborate with Merck to evaluate a FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization)-based companion diagnostic test to aid in the development of a Merck investigational cancer therapy.

Abbott is to develop a test based on its proprietary FISH technology, which is intended to identify deletions of the TP53 gene in cancer patients. The FISH assay will be evaluated in clinical trials to help identify patients who are more likely to respond favourably to Merk’s investigational cancer therapy.

"Our goal through this collaboration, and others like it, is to ensure that the right medicine gets to the right patient," said Stafford O'Kelly, head of Abbott's molecular diagnostics business. "As one of the early pioneers in companion diagnostics, we believe that linking genetic testing with drug development at the earliest stages can increase the effectiveness and predictability of medicines and help physicians make more informed treatment decisions."

Abbott’s portfolio of companion diagnostic tests includes the PathVysion® HER-2 DNA Probe Kit, which is approved for use in selecting breast cancer patients for whom Herceptin® (trastuzumab) therapy is being considered. Abbott's Vysis ALK Break Apart FISH Probe kit was approved for use in 2011 for identifying non-small cell lung cancer patients for XALKORI® (crizotinib) treatment. Abbott currently has personalized medicine collaborations in place with a number of pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.