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Merck KGaA Using Oncomethylome Test in Drug Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – OncoMethylome Sciences said today that it is collaborating with Merck KGaA to use its MGMT gene promoter methylation technology to select patients for trials for drugs to treat glioblastoma.

The Liege, Belgium-based company said it has begun testing for MGMT gene promoter methylation in a Phase II clinical trial for Merck KGaA's cilengitide and in a phase III clinical trial for newly diagnosed glioblastoma that has been ongoing since 2008, the company said.

The Phase III trial is attempting to demonstrate improvements in overall survival in patients with methylated MGMT gene promoter who are being treated with a combination therapy of cilengitide treatment along with temozolomide and radiation, which is the standard glioblastoma therapy.

In the Phase II trial, patients with unmethylated gene promoter are being enrolled and treated with an alternative cilengitide dosing schedule.

Under an earlier agreement, Merck KGaA acquired a non-exclusive, worldwide license to use the results of the MGMT methylation assay for glioblastoma treatment with cilengitide, for which the German company agreed to pay OncoMethylome fees for its testing services.