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Ventana Inks CDx Deal with Syndax for Lung Cancer Drug

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Ventana Medical Systems and Syndax Pharmaceuticals have signed an agreement for the development of a companion diagnostic for a drug being developed by Syndax to treat non-small cell lung cancer patients.

Tucson-Ariz.-based Ventana, which is part of the Roche Group, will provide the assay for use in selecting patients for a clinical study of Syndax's lead molecule entinostat in combination with erlotinib (Tarceva), a drug currently marketed for NSCLC. Ventana said that it will validate the assay, which it developed in 2010 to measure levels of E-cadherin in epithelial tissues, in its own CLIA lab. It added that its lab may serve as the central lab for the upcoming clinical study.

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Waltham, Mass.-based Syndax is developing entiniostat for breast and lung cancer indications. The firm recently completed a phase II study of the drug and found that a "subset patients with tumors expressing high levels of the protein e-cadherin experienced a more favorable overall survival and we therefore intend to select this patient population in the confirmatory study planned to start in the second half of the year," Syndax President and CEO Joanna Horobin said in a statement.

Separately, Ventana has inked a deal to provide a companion diagnostic test for a compound being developed by Aeterna Zentaris for multiple cancers. The immunohistochemical test will determine luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone receptor expression.