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Ventana to Develop CDx for MedImmune NSCLC Drug

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Ventana today said that it is collaborating with MedImmune to develop a companion diagnostic for a drug MedImmune is developing for non-small cell lung cancer.

The companion diagnostic will be an immunohistochemistry assay that aims to identify patients who express programmed cell death ligand 1. MedImmune is developing an anti-PD-L1 therapy dubbed MEDI4736, which is currently in clinical studies. The drug firm will use the Ventana assay in that study.

Ventana, which is part of the Roche Group, said the assay has been validated for use on its Benchmark series of advanced staining instruments. It added that testing for the MedImmune trial is being carried out at Ventana's companion diagnostics CAP/CLIA lab in Tucson, Ariz., and select testing sites.

"Cancer immunotherapy is a promising area that may provide long lasting benefit not achieved with other treatment approaches," Doug Ward, VP and lifecycle leader for the Ventana Companion Diagnostics business unit, said in a statement. "This collaboration is another strong example of the importance of companion diagnostics and their role in supporting the use of novel immunotherapies to target human malignancies."

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people 65 and older or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.