Agendia last week announced plans to deepen its already cozy relationship with Agilent by codeveloping new in vitro diagnostics in the area of cancer.
According to the terms of the deal, Agilent will continue to supply Agendia’s products on microarrays through Dec. 31, 2011. Agilent has been manufacturing the components for Agendia’s assays, since the company was founded in 2003.
“The main focus of the agreement would be on developing new cancer diagnostics, primarily in the areas of breast and colon cancers,” Agendia CEO Bernhard Sixt told Pharmcogenomics Reporter this week.
The collaboration would also focus on developing diagnostics, particularly in vitro diagnostic multivariate index assays, for other diseases and in areas of unmet clinical need, Sixt added.
In an e-mail to Pharmacogenomics Reporter, Yvonne Linney, Agilent’s vice president and general manager of genomics, said that under the collaboration, Agilent will focus on identifying genetic biomarkers for cancer, while Agendia will use its expertise in bringing this type of content “from bench to bedside.”
Agilent remains “the foundry, printing Agendia’s proprietary designs and content onto microarrays for use in Agendia’s clinical lab,” Linney said.
According to Sixt, Agendia “has the first option of evaluating information provided through proprietary research facilitated by Agilent to determine if there is a market for specific diagnostic tests.”
If, upon evaluation of Agilent’s research, Agendia identifies a specific diagnostic to bring to market, the company will then develop and process the test through its central laboratory. Agendia will be responsible for all worldwide marketing of any developed test.
Sixt noted that the companies are engaged in the very early discussion, and therefore, no biomarker discover or diagnostic development projects are up and running yet at this time.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. However, under the terms of the agreement, the companies will share their genetic biomarker research and jointly assess the commercial potential of each opportunity.
“We've established and enjoyed a strong business relationship with Agilent since the incorporation of Agendia," Sixt said in a statement. “These activities, including joint research and development, have allowed our two companies to forge an even closer strategic alliance focused on Agendia's core competencies, namely the discovery of biomarkers and development of new diagnostic tests for clinical use, which are regulated under the new IVDMIA guidelines of the FDA.”
Last year, Agendia's MammaPrint assay for breast cancer recurrence became the first IVDMIA microarray-based diagnostic test to be cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration. Agendia, which is based in the Netherlands, also offers DiscoverPrint, a gene expression-based service for improving the efficacy of clinical trials, and CupPrint, a diagnostic for identifying the origin of a metastasis in Cancer of Unknown Primary Origin. These assays are manufactured on Agilent microarrays and are performed at Agendia's laboratory in the Netherlands.
"We eagerly anticipate expanding our role beyond the manufacturing of Agendia products on the Agilent microarrays to helping them build validated diagnostic cancer tests, as well as developing and expanding the company's worldwide distribution channels," Linney said in a statement.