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Merck, LabCorp in PGx Licensing Deal

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Merck said after the close the market yesterday that it has granted Laboratory Corporation of America a non-exclusive license to commercialize a genetic test to help predict patient response to peginterferon alpha-based therapy for hepatitis C virus.

LabCorp has developed a test to identify the presence of IL-28B, a genetic mutation that has been associated with a successful response to peginterferon alpha-based therapy, which Merck said is the current standard of care for hepatitis C virus. Merck identified that association through a genome-wide study sponsored by the firm of nearly 1,700 patients with HCV genotype 1.

Under the agreement, LabCorp will pay a Merck affiliate a one-time payment and royalties for tests covered under the pact. In exchange, LabCorp receives a license to the Merck affiliate's patent rights covering the detection and use of the IL-28B polymorphism.

Further terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Merck noted that it intends to provide a limited number of non-exclusive licenses for the polymorphism to established diagnostic companies.

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