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Ensemble Discovery, Roche Collaborate on EGFR Assays for Cancer Drug Response

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb news) – Ensemble Discovery said today that it has extended an existing collaboration with Roche that is using Ensemble’s diagnostic assays to analyze proteins in cancer tissues in an effort to develop new treatment tools.
Under the extended agreement, the companies aim to develop product prototypes that detect EGFR receptor dimers in cancer samples. Ensemble said that it will develop a test that will correlate particular EGFR family dimer patterns with the efficacy of certain anti-cancer drugs.  
Ensemble said this technology could help to identify new targeted drug combinations and the cancer patients who are likely to respond to a particular therapy targeted against the EGFR family.
Six drugs are currently on the market that attack the EGFR family, and others are in clinical trials, but these drugs are only effective in a subset of patients for whom they are indicated. Why these drugs do not work for more patients “is not well understood and needs further investigation with the aim of optimizing clinical study programs and future treatments,” the company said.
Roche and Ensemble began their pertnership in July 2007. The original collaboration "demonstrated the ability of our assays to detect receptor dimers in human pathological samples," said David Livingston, senior VP and head of biodetection at Ensemble.
Under the new agreement, the companies plan to extend the panel of assays against various members of the EGFR family and advance those assays into clinical studies, he said. 

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