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Abbott Developing CDx for Merck Investigational Cancer Drug

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Abbott said today it will provide a companion diagnostic for an investigational cancer therapy being developed by Merck.

Under the terms of the deal, Abbott will use its fluorescence in situ hybridization technology to develop a test to identify deletions of the TP53 gene in cancer patients. The assay will be evaluated in clinical trials for its ability to select the most appropriate patients for Merck's therapy.

Other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Stafford O'Kelly, president of the Abbott Molecular business of Abbott, said in a statement, "As one of the early pioneers in companion diagnostics, we believe that linking genetic testing with drug development at the earliest stages can increase the effectiveness and predictability of medicines and help physicians make more informed treatment decisions."

In addition to the partnership with Merck, Abbott also has several companion diagnostic development deals with GlaxoSmithKline, and in the summer the US Food and Drug Administration cleared Abbott's companion diagnostic test for use with Pfizer's Xalkor (crizotinib) ALK-inhibitor in non-small cell lung cancer.

Abbott yesterday announced a collaboration with Genetics Laboratory to develop a molecular diagnostic assay for orthopedic infections.

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