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Verastem Taps LabCorp to Validate Companion Dx for Cancer Stem Cell Agent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Verastem said today that Laboratory Corporation of America will help it validate biomarkers that could be used to develop a companion diagnostic for a Verastem drug candidate, the focal adhesion inhibitor VS-6063.

The biomarkers will be used in clinical studies in ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, including a potentially pivotal study of VS-6063 in mesothelioma expected to commence later this year.

Specifically, the partners will evaluate biomarkers related to the tumor suppressor Merlin. According to Verastem, around 50 percent of mesothelioma patients who lack Merlin may be responsive to treatment with FAK inhibitors.

VS-6063, which Verastem licensed from Pfizer last July, is designed to target and kill cancer stem cells by inhibiting FAK signaling.