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Abbott, GSK Expand Partnership for Additional Companion Dx

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Abbott today announced the expansion of an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals for the development of an additional companion diagnostic test for GSK's cancer immunotherapy research program.

The agreement, which builds on earlier deals between the firms, calls for Abbott to develop a PCR-based test for its m2000rt instrument to screen non-small cell lung cancer tumors for the expression of the PRAME antigen, a preferentially expressed antigen of melanoma that is expressed in 69 percent of non-small cell lung cancer cases but expressed only minimally in normal cells, Abbott said.

PRAME is also expressed in a number of other cancers such as melanoma, breast, ovarian, and bladder cancer, it added.

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The earlier deals between the firms, reached in 2009 and 2010, are for the development of PCR-based companion diagnostic tests by Abbott to screen for the expression of MAGE-A3 antigen.

Abbott's tests are in support of GSK's Antigen Specific Cancer Immunotherapy Program, a new class of medicines being developed to train the immune system "to recognize and eliminate cancer cells in a highly specific manner," Abbott said.

ASCIs are investigational compounds not approved for use in any indication anywhere. They are currently being investigated in the clinic "to support their use to reduce the risk of tumor recurrence following surgery, or to impact tumor growth in an early metastatic setting."

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