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NanoString, HalioDx Collaborate on Immunotherapy Response Assays

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – NanoString Technologies and French diagnostics firm HalioDx have signed a collaboration agreement to develop and commercialize several gene expression assays to assess response to cancer immunotherapy.

Under the terms of the agreement, the partners will jointly develop the assays on NanoString's nCounter platform. The assays will be based on research conducted by Jérôme Galon, HalioDx co-founder and researcher for France's Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale. Both firms will commercialize the assays worldwide.

"We selected the nCounter platform because of its robustness, turn-around time, and compatibility with formalin-fixed-paraffin-embedded tissue samples," HalioDx CEO and Co-Founder Vincent Fert said in a statement.

HalioDx is based in Marseille, France and was formed in 2014 after its assets were bought from Qiagen Marseilles by Ipsogen's former management team, following Qiagen's acquisition of Ipsogen in 2011.

This new partnership, NanoString and HalioDx said in a statement, will "enable researchers and drug developers to use assays to assess responses to immunotherapies and select patients who are most likely to benefit from the therapies." They added that it could also lead to future companion diagnostic collaborations with pharmaceutical companies.

In recent months, NanoString has signed two large companion diagnostic agreements. In January the Seattle-based company signed a collaboration with Medivation and Astellas Pharma to develop a companion diagnostic for the breast cancer drug enzalutamide. And in March, the firm announced a deal with Merck to develop a companion diagnostic for Keytruda (pembrolizumab).