Qiagen, Eli Lilly to develop companion diagnostics for simultaneous analysis of DNA, RNA cancer biomarkers

Qiagen announced Friday a collaboration with Eli Lilly to co-develop universal and modular assay panels for the simultaneous analysis of DNA and RNA biomarkers targeting multiple cellular pathways involved in common cancer types. The deal includes the development of tests that will be based on Qiagen's Modaplex analysis platform, which the company said "can process multiple sample types and biomarkers in a single test."

"This time [we are] co-developing a broad panel of molecular assays covering a range of biomarkers with diverse nucleic acid analytes and modalities to guide the use of tailored therapies," said Qiagen CEO Peer M. Schatz. He added that "we believe our technology can enhance [Eli] Lilly's development of innovative therapies for the benefit of cancer patients."

Qiagen noted that the collaboration is the fourth oncology project with Eli Lilly. In 2011, the companies partnered to develop a companion diagnostic that evaluates a gene mutation that plays a role in some blood cancers. The following year, Qiagen announced the FDA approval of its therascreen KRAS RGQ PCR Kit to identify patients with colorectal cancer most likely to benefit from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly's Erbitux (cetuximab). In 2013, Qiagen announced a third agreement to create a companion diagnostic to guide use of an undisclosed Eli Lilly oncology compound.

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