Ventana and Bayer partner to develop diagnostic assay for cancer therapy

17 January 2012 (Last Updated January 17th, 2012 18:30)

Ventana Medical Systems, a member of the Roche Group, has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Bayer Pharma to develop a molecular companion diagnostic test for identifying patients most likely to benefit from a novel Bayer antibody-drug conjugate (ADC).

Ventana Medical Systems, a member of the Roche Group, has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Bayer Pharma to develop a molecular companion diagnostic test for identifying patients most likely to benefit from a novel Bayer antibody-drug conjugate (ADC).

Under the collaboration deal, Ventana will develop, manufacture and commercialise a companion diagnostic test for one of Bayer's ADCs. Later, both parties may initiate further development projects to develop molecular diagnostic tests in support of additional targeted cancer therapy drugs.

The antibody-drug conjugates are composed of three distinctive features: an antibody, a cytotoxic drug (toxophore) and a linker. They help increasing efficiency and reduce systemic toxicity of drugs by targeting them selectively to tumour tissue. Ventana's diagnostic immunohistochemistry platform is used to analyse the expression level of certain tumour targets serving as biomarkers in clinical studies for patient selection.

Ventana Medical Systems president Mara Aspinall said the alliance aims to improve the lives of all patients afflicted with cancer, and as new biomarkers and diagnostic tests become increasingly available, they provide valuable information about potential positive recipients for the novel agents. ''Translating excellence in science into effective, targeted treatments for patients is at the core of Roche's scientific vision for 'personalised healthcare' (PHC), and it is our highest priority now and into the future," he added.

Bayer HealthCare Global Drug Discovery head Andreas Busch said the agreement allows the company to move toward personalised medicine in cancer treatment as the selection of patients most likely to benefit from an ADC will increase the overall probability of therapeutic success for patients suffering from cancer. Financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

The company's intuitive, integrated staining, workflow management platforms and digital pathology solutions optimise laboratory efficiencies to reduce errors, support diagnosis and inform treatment decisions for anatomic pathology professionals.