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Skuldtech, AB Science to Develop CDx for Pancreatic Cancer Drug

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Based on a new set of blood biomarkers, diagnostic development firm Skuldtech and pharma firm AB Science today said they plan to develop a companion diagnostic test for a molecule from AB Science for treating pancreatic cancer.

The discovery of the biomarkers announced today was made during a phase III clinical trail focused on pancreatic cancer and managed by AB Science that evaluated the therapeutic efficiency of a new treatment that combines masitinib being developed by the Paris-based drug firm and gemcitabine, which is marketed by Eli Lilly as Gemzar. The trial compared the two drugs in combination with the efficacy of treating patients with gencitabine only.

Skuldtech and AB Science identified specific transcriptomic biomarkers able to distinguish between different populations treated during the trial and then select those markers that may be able to predict pancreatic cancer survival associated with masitinib treatment, they said. They now plan to use the markers to develop and commercialize the companion test.

The markers were discovered using Skuldtech's technology "associating" gene sequencing with its bioinformatics tools and gene profiling studies. The markers are jointly owned by Skuldtech, based in Montpellier, France, and AB Science.

"Faced with the 'patent cliff' and a challenging economic context, the pharmaceutical industry is seeking new solutions for achieving successful phase III clinical trials, and also new vectors for growth," Skuldtech CEO Didier Ritter said in a statement. "The concept of personalized medicine or personalization of treatments, therefore, represents a source of hope both for patients and the medical industry."

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