Thermo Fisher Scientific has entered into a long-term agreement with Novartis and Pfizer to develop and commercialize a multi-marker, universal next-generation sequencing (NGS) oncology test that will serve as a companion diagnostic (CDx) for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) across multiple drug development programs.
With many pharmaceutical companies moving toward targeted therapies instead of “one-size-fits-all” drugs, a practical method for matching cancer patients with specific drug candidates is needed to enable the evolution to precision medicine. NGS enables testing of multiple genes simultaneously from a single sample to help identify their unique genetic profile. That information can then be used to guide the appropriate therapy choice among multiple drug candidates.
The streamlined and personalized methodology defined in the development agreement between the companies has the potential to improve safety, effectiveness and health outcome of patients via targeted risk stratification and tailored treatment approaches. The collaboration, focused on a universal testing approach, could also accelerate the development and registration of several new NSCLC drugs and drug indications, with the ultimate goal of providing patients greater access to more targeted treatments and appropriate clinical trials as quickly as possible.