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Abbott, GSK Extend Companion Dx Partnership to PRAME Antigen Marker for NSCLC Immunotherapeutic

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Originally published Nov. 29.

Abbott and GlaxoSmithKline this week formally extended an existing drug/diagnostic codevelopment partnership in the cancer immunotherapy space, setting their sights on a new marker: the PRAME antigen.

According to Abbott, PRAME is “a preferentially expressed antigen of melanoma,” but the marker also shows up in 69 percent of non-small cell lung cancer patients. Under their agreement, Abbott will develop a real-time PCR test for its m2000 instrument that will screen NSCLC tumors for the expression of the PRAME antigen. The companion diagnostic will be used as part of GSK's development program for an undisclosed NSCLC immunotherapeutic targeting the same marker.

GSK is developing antigen-specific cancer immunotherpeutics, or ASCIs, across a variety of cancer indications. Several of GSK's ASCIs, all of which are investigational and in various stages of development, involve the aid of molecular diagnostics to hone in on best responders to the drugs.

In 2009, Abbott and GSK inked a companion diagnostic arrangement around the MAGE-A3 antigen for an NSCLC immunotherapeutic (PGx Reporter 7/15/2009). The companies expanded that agreement last year into skin cancer. Under the terms of that deal, Abbott said it would develop a diagnostic test to gauge which patients' melanoma tumors expressed MAGE-A3 and should be treated with GSK's investigational MAGE-A3 antigen in clinical studies (PGx Reporter 3/10/2010).

As part of the same MAGE-A3 antigen program, Life Technologies is also developing a companion test for the melanoma and NSCLC drug that will be used in complement to Abbott's test. “We are interested in partnering with Abbott on this technology in addition to the work that we carry out with Life Technologies,” a GSK spokesperson previously told PGx Reporter. The Life Technologies diagnostic “would be used for gene signature as a second stage of the patient gene profiling whilst the Abbott diagnostics in antigen screening is a first-phase diagnostic for patients. So both phases of testing will be required.”

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