QIAGEN inks collaboration with Astellas

The companies will develop and commercialize companion diagnostics to be paired with Astellas drugs

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HILDEN, Germany & TOKYO—QIAGEN N.V. has announced a master collaboration agreement with pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma Inc. for the development and commercialization of companion diagnostics paired with Astellas drugs for use in cancer and other diseases. The agreement is not limited to certain platforms or indications, which grants Astellas access to QIAGEN's development capabilities for assays based on PCR, next-generation sequencing and multi-modal testing technologies using both liquid and tissue biopsies. No financial terms were disclosed. Two of the collaboration's initial projects will be focused on cancer, namely the pairing of QIAGEN diagnostics with two early-stage Astellas compounds: ASP5878, a fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitor, and ASP8273, an EGFR inhibitor.
“We are very pleased to partner with Astellas to help maximize the benefits of their innovative new drugs with companion diagnostics from our development and commercialization engine. QIAGEN shares Astellas’ commitment to contribute actively toward improving the health of patients by realizing the benefits of personalized healthcare,” Peer M. Schatz, CEO of QIAGEN, said in a press release. “With the master agreement and the first two projects to be disclosed, QIAGEN is further expanding its leadership in personalized medicine – including in Japan, one of the world's largest markets for companion diagnostics. The master agreement provides Astellas and QIAGEN flexibility and a strong foundation to add further development projects across other therapeutic areas, across analytical techniques, and across a broad array of sampling options.”
This collaboration is the eighth framework agreement for QIAGEN centered on the development of companion diagnostics. The company announced a similar collaboration agreement in late July with AstraZeneca PLC. Under that agreement, the two companies will co-develop and commercialize a liquid biopsy-based companion diagnostic to be paired with IRESSA, AstraZeneca's targeted therapy for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The deal builds on a master framework agreement QIAGEN and AstraZeneca signed in 2013, and will focus on developing and marketing a QIAGEN companion diagnostic that can analyze plasma samples to determine EGFR mutation status in NSCLC patients. The diagnostic will help guide treatment with IRESSA when tumor tissue is not available.
Two months earlier, on May 30, QIAGEN announced a collaboration with Eli Lilly and Co. for the co-development of universal and modular assay panels for simultaneous analysis of DNA and RNA biomarkers targeting multiple cellular pathways that play a role in common cancer types. Under the agreement, the companies will develop tests based on QIAGEN's multi-modal, multi-analyte Modaplex analysis platform.
SOURCE: QIAGEN press release

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