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Qiagen Inks CDx Deal with Astellas Pharma

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Qiagen announced after the close of the market Tuesday that it has signed a master collaboration agreement to develop and commercialize companion diagnostics to pair with drugs being developed by Astellas Pharma for cancer and other diseases.

The deal provides Tokyo-based Astellas access to Qiagen's development capabilities for assays based on PCR, next-generation sequencing, and multi-modal testing technologies using liquid and tissue biopsies, said Qiagen. Initial projects between the firms will focus on oncology and aim to pair Qiagen CDx tests with two Astellas compounds in early stage clinical trials: ASP5878, a fibroblast growth factor receptor inhibitor, and ASP8273, an EGFR inhibitor.

"With the master agreement and the first two projects to be disclosed, Qiagen is further expanding its leadership in personalized medicine — including in Japan, one of the world's largest markets for companion diagnostics," Qiagen CEO Peer Schatz said in a statement. "The master agreement provides Astellas and Qiagen flexibility and a strong foundation to add further development projects across other therapeutic areas, across analytical techniques, and across a broad array of sampling options."

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Qiagen noted that the agreement with Astellas is its eighth framework agreement for developing CDx tests, and that it has more than 20 collaborative projects with pharma and biotech companies to develop, validate, and market companion diagnostics to guide the treatment of cancers and other diseases.

Earlier this year Qiagen acquired PrimeraDx, a Boston-area molecular diagnostics startup that had developed a multi-modal, multi-analyte testing system called Modaplex, which Qiagen initially planned to use in a collaboration with Eli Lilly to co-develop companion diagnostics that simultaneously analyze DNA and RNA biomarkers in common cancers.