Abbott and Merck Develop Companion Dx Assay for Investigational Cancer Therapy

Abbott is partnering with Merck to evaluate the use of a fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)-based companion diagnostic test to help Merck develop an investigational cancer therapy. The collaboration calls for Abbott to develop a test based on its proprietary FISH technology that will detect deletions of the TP53 gene in cancer patients. The assay will be evaluated in clinical trials to help identify patients more likely to respond favorably to Merck's cancer drug. "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," said Stafford O'Kelly, head of Abbott's molecular diagnostics business.

Abbott Reveals Name for New Research-Based Pharmaceutical Company

Abbott will name its independent research-based pharmaceutical company AbbVie. The new company is expected to launch by the end of this year. The announcement comes after Abbott decided to separate into two publicly traded companies, one in diversified medical products and the other in research-based pharmaceuticals. AbbVie is derived from Abbott and "vie," which references the Latin root "vi" meaning life. AbbVie will include Abbott's current portfolio of leading proprietary pharmaceuticals and biologics. The diversified medical products company, which will keep the Abbott name, will include Abbott's existing diversified medical products portfolio, including its branded generic pharmaceutical, devices, diagnostics, and nutritional businesses.

Bristol-Myers Squibb, Meso Scale Discovery Partner on Assays for Alzheimer's Research

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Meso Scale Discovery closed a deal to develop diagnostic assays that will measure cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers for use in Alzheimer's disease research. Under the terms of the deal, Meso Scale Discovery will commercialize the assays for Alzheimer's research and drug development. "These assays could provide the Alzheimer's disease research community with an important tool to help advance understanding of this complex and devastating disease and may lead to advances in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease," said Jane Tiller, vice president of global clinical research for Bristol-Myers Squibb. The assays will be based on Meso Scale Discovery's multi-array technology platform.

Iverson Genetic Diagnostics and Vanderbilt Collaborate on MDx for Breast Cancer

Iverson Genetic Diagnostics is joining forces with Vanderbilt University to develop molecular diagnostics that assess breast cancer risk in menopausal women. The test would help physicians assess the risk of breast cancer in women who are considering hormone replacement therapy during menopause. Under the terms of the deal, Iverson would receive exclusive commercialization rights. Iverson expects to launch the test later this year.

DiaGenic and GE Healthcare Developing Blood Test for Alzheimer's Disease

DiaGenic finalized a deal with GE Healthcare to develop a blood test using DiaGenic's gene expression profiling tools for the early diagnosis of patients with mild cognitive impairment, a disorder associated with risk for Alzheimer's disease. The deal calls for DiaGenic's technology to be used with GE Healthcare's PET experimental imaging agent 18F-flutemetamol to detect a gene expression signature. The collaboration is part of a broad portfolio of diagnostic solutions that GE Healthcare is developing in the Alzheimer's field. "I am delighted to enter into collaboration with GE Healthcare, which shares our high ambition in advancing Alzheimer's disease diagnosis and treatment," said Erik Christensen CEO of DiaGenic. "Combining PET and gene expression data will be very valuable for DiaGenic and a biomarker linked to PET will open new market opportunities for DiaGenic and GE Healthcare."