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Qiagen Expands Immuno-Oncology Portfolio With Three Agreements

NEW YORK – Qiagen said on Tuesday that it has signed three agreements to expand its immuno-oncology portfolio for the commercialization of future companion diagnostics, in particular those based on next-generation sequencing.

Under a non-exclusive worldwide cross-marketing and promotion agreement, Japanese firm Repertoire Genesis will provide Qiagen with access to technologies for the development of T cell and B cell receptor repertoire sequencing assays. The goal is to develop companion diagnostic tests on Illumina sequencing platforms that use Repertoire Genesis' TCR technology in immuno-oncology. The technology includes isolation of T cells from peripheral blood and uses jointly developed methods for TCR measurement, single primer set-based gene amplification, and bioinformatics for interpreting TCR repertoire results. The agreement includes the support of biomarker studies in Repertoire Genetics' laboratory in Osaka, Japan.

Qiagen has also signed a licensing agreement with researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany for epigenomic biomarkers based on immune checkpoint gene methylation, including in CTLA4, PD-L1, and PD1. The agreement includes rights to the codevelopment of predictive companion diagnostics, which Qiagen plans to develop for use in selecting patients likely to benefit from immuno-oncology therapies.

In addition, Qiagen has signed a licensing agreement with German diagnostics company Stratifyer Molecular Pathology that gives it exclusive access to biomarker intellectual property to provide guidance for treatment decisions in bladder cancer and, potentially, other urothelial cancers. The mRNA expression signatures were shown in retrospective clinical studies conducted by the German Network of Pathologists and Urologists to provide guidance for therapy selection, including for immuno-oncology drugs.

Financial and other terms of the deals were not disclosed.

"We continue to expand our access to intellectual property and novel technologies that will help us to support our pharmaceutical and laboratory customers in the development of novel NGS-based solutions for precision medicine in immuno-oncology," said Thierry Bernard, interim CEO of Qiagen and the firm's senior VP and head of molecular diagnostics, in a statement.

The new partnerships come after Qiagen's recent agreement with Illumina to develop and commercialize companion diagnostics and other IVD kits for Illumina sequencing platforms.