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Roche Licenses PI3K Biomarker from Qiagen

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Roche today announced it has obtained a global co-exclusive license for phosphoinositide 3-kinase, a biomarker for cancer, from Qiagen.

Roche plans to develop real-time and endpoint PCR diagnostic assays for PI3K to run on its cobas 4800 System, it said in a statement. The biomarker was licensed exclusively by Johns Hopkins University, which owns its patent, to DxS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Qiagen. DxS is now called Qiagen Manchester.

Financial terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.

Citing the American Association for Cancer Research, Roche said that the PI3K pathway is mutated in more cancer patients than any other and plays a major role in colorectal, gastric, breast, and endometrial tumors. Much of current cancer drug development is focused on inhibiting PI3K, the company said, and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group has several molecules in early development that target points along the PI3K pathway in a number of tumor types.

Roche has a number of ongoing programs to develop real-time PCR assays that detect mutations in the PI3K oncogene, and the firm plans to make the PCR assay available to pharmaceutical partners for use in clinical trials.

"Given the demonstrated predictive value of these biomarkers, developing assays that identify clinically relevant mutations is an area of high priority for Roche," Paul Brown, president and CEO of Roche Molecular Diagnostics, said in a statement.

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