Industry News: QIAGEN collaborates with BioNTech on companion diagnostics development for HPV-associated squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

25 Nov 2020


QIAGEN has announced a strategic collaboration with BioNTech to develop and commercialize a tissue-based companion diagnostic, to be used with investigational cancer treatment BNT113, which identifies patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) that are caused by specific infections by human papilloma virus (HPV).

The assay will detect the presence of HPV genotypes and will be developed on QIAGEN´s RGQ MDx platform, a member of the QIAsymphony family of products.

QIAGEN plans to expand the panel for use across HPV-driven cancers such as cervical cancer and other cancers, in order to provide a universal HPV companion diagnostic (CDx) for QIAGEN’s pharmaceutical partners.

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma is the sixth most common cancer. Every year, there are more than 650,000 cases leading to 330,000 deaths, according to a 2018 global cancer study. These numbers are expected to double by 2035, according to the World Health Organization. The incidence of HPV-related SCCHN has significantly increased in recent years.

QIAGEN established the global HPV testing market over two decades ago. More than 100 million women have been tested for HPV infections using QIAGEN´s portfolio of HPV products, including hybrid capture, genotyping, and methylation tests.

“This CDx project will help to identify patients who might benefit from BioNTech´s innovative BNT113 treatment option,” said Jean-Pascal Viola, Senior Vice President and Head of Molecular Diagnostics Business Area at QIAGEN. “QIAGEN’s Sample to Insight workflows and experience in developing diagnostic solutions for Precision Medicine are well-suited to aid in evaluating patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. We will leverage our world-leading position in HPV testing to commercialize the new HPV companion diagnostics in all target markets of BioNTech.”

QIAGEN is a pioneer in Precision Medicine and the global leader in collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to co-develop companion diagnostics, which detect clinically relevant genetic abnormalities to provide insights that guide clinical decision-making in diseases such as cancer.

QIAGEN has an unmatched depth and breadth of technologies from polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to next-generation sequencing (NGS) for companion diagnostic development. These capabilities, such as the flexibility to tailor a CDx to a partner’s needs, IVD development expertise, and a proven global commercialization track record, allow QIAGEN to develop novel and innovative diagnostic solutions, including customized NGS products. Through the Day-One Lab Readiness program, a network of laboratories are ready for commercial testing, pending drug regulatory approval, allowing patients to benefit from immediate access to a therapeutic. 

Currently, QIAGEN is working under master collaboration agreements with more than 30 companies, including BioNTech, to develop and commercialize companion diagnostic tests for their drug candidates – a deep pipeline of potential future products to advance Precision Medicine for the benefit of patients.

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