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Thermo Fisher, Bayer partner to develop companion diagnostics

Dive Brief:

  • Thermo Fisher Scientific said Wednesday that it has partnered with Bayer to develop companion diagnostic assays for the drugmaker’s precision cancer therapies. 
  • Thermo Fisher will develop the next-generation sequencing-based diagnostics using its Ion Torrent Genexus Dx System. The technology can analyze liquid and tissue samples in 24 hours. 
  • Bayer and Thermo Fisher see the partnership as a way to increase access to its therapies by offering “decentralized genomic testing and rapid turnaround time.” The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement.

Dive Insight:

The development of targeted cancer therapies that only work in people with certain genetic markers has created a need for tests that show if a patient is likely to respond to the treatment.

Thermo Fisher made the Oncomine Dx Express Test to meet the need. The test, which runs on the Torrent Genexus Dx System, can detect deletions, insertions, substitution and copy number variants, gene fusions and splicing variants in 46 genes, including for the ALK, BRAF, KRAS and EGFR genes.

Bayer has identified Thermo Fisher’s technology as an enabler of its pipeline of cancer drug candidates.

The Genexus Dx instrument and the Oncomine Dx Express Test have CE marks and are only available in countries that accept the European Union clearance. Thermo Fisher received Food and Drug Administration authorization for its older Oncomine Dx Target Test in 2017 and subsequently expanded its use through premarket approval supplements.

The Bayer deal comes after Thermo Fisher entered into a companion diagnostic agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim in October. The Boehringer deal covers tests to help identify non-small cell lung cancer patients with specific genomic mutations.

In January, Agilent announced a partnership with the drugmaker Incyte to develop companion diagnostics. The companies plan to focus on Incyte’s hematology and oncology portfolio.