Pfizer, Novartis and Thermo Fisher collab on cancer companion test
The companies have signed a long-term agreement to create and commercialise a multi-marker, universal next-generation sequencing (NGS) companion diagnostic. They hope the test will help match cancer patients with specific drug candidates by testing multiple genes simultaneously from a single sample. Researchers will then identify the patient’s unique genetic profile and choose the appropriate therapy from multiple clinical-stage options.
Novartis and Pfizer say the collaboration will accelerate development of several non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) therapies by speeding up patient access to appropriate clinical trials.
The collaboration is part of an industry trend towards personalised methodology via targeted risk stratification and tailored treatment approaches.
According to the agreement, Thermo Fisher will develop the test using its Ion PGM Dx System and Oncomine assays. Both tools use “Ion AmpliSeq” technology, Thermo’s tech for large-scale gene sequencing. The company claims it requires only very small DNA and RNA samples from Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE) tissues to analyse tumours.
Pfizer’s head of diagnostics and Novartis’s head of oncology publicly welcomed the deal. Thermo Fisher Scientics president of life sciences, Mark Stevenson, commented:
“The potential to generate a paradigm shift through this agreement - from one test for one drug, to one test for multiple NSCLC therapies, represents a significant step forward in realizing the promise of precision medicine.
“We look forward to building upon our ongoing collaboration with Novartis and Pfizer to lead the efforts in building potential novel NGS testing approaches to advance the future of cancer care.”