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Merck KGaA, Pfizer, Dako Sign CDx Agreement

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Merck KGaA and Pfizer announced on Thursday a deal with Dako to develop a companion diagnostic test for the drug firms' investigational immune checkpoint inhibitor avelumab. 

The firms will collaborate on developing the test to evaluate programmed death-ligand 1 protein expression levels in tumor tissue and its microenvironment, including immune cells associated with tumors, Merck and Pfizer said, adding that the investigational CDx is part of the protocols in ongoing trials for avelumab. 

Avelumab was originally discovered and developed by Merck, which formed a strategic alliance with Pfizer to jointly further develop and commercialize the drug. 

Dako, an Agilent Technologies business, inked a master framework agreement with Merck in early 2014 to develop CDx tests for cancer drugs in the pharma firm's development pipeline. Dako signed a CDx deal with Pfizer in 2013.