Qiagen, a Netherlands-based provider of sample and assay technologies, has announced a master collaboration agreement with Astellas Pharma, an R&D-driven global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan, to develop and commercialize companion diagnostics paired with Astellas drugs for use in cancer and other diseases.
The scope of the agreement is not restricted to certain sample types, platforms, indications or biomarkers, thereby giving Astellas access to Qiagen's development capabilities for assays based on PCR, NGS and multi-modal testing technologies using liquid and tissue biopsies.
Two initial projects in the collaboration focus on oncology and aim to pair Qiagen diagnostics with Astellas compounds in early-stage clinical trials: ASP5878, a fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitor, and ASP8273, an EGFR inhibitor. Financial terms have not been disclosed.
The Astellas collaboration is Qiagen's eighth framework agreement for developing companion diagnostics. Qiagen has more than 20 collaborative projects with pharma and biotech companies to develop, validate and market companion diagnostics to guide the treatment of cancers and a variety of other diseases. Qiagen already markets tests for personalized healthcare applications based on more than 30 molecular biomarkers, and the company has a growing portfolio of novel biomarkers in development.
Qiagen offers companion diagnostic programs spanning a range of automation platforms.
A number of the tests are real-time PCR assays for analysis on the QIAsymphony family of instruments. In Japan, Qiagen's therascreen EGFR RGQ PCR Kit in NSCLC and Qiagen's therascreen KRAS Mutation Detection Kit in colorectal cancer were launched in 2011.
Earlier in 2014, Qiagen added to its platforms for companion diagnostics the multi-modal, multi-analyte Modaplex, which enables laboratories to analyze multiple sample types simultaneously for dozens of DNA and RNA biomarkers. Qiagen acquired this fast, cost-efficient workflow from PrimeraDx.