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Ventana Inks Master CDx Deal with Astellas Focusing Initially on FGFR Inhibitor

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Roche subsidiary Ventana Medical Systems announced that it will develop tissue-based diagnostics to support drug development programs at Japanese drug firm Astellas Pharma as part of a master collaboration agreement.

Their collaboration will focus initially on early-phase studies involving Astellas' FGFR inhibitor, dubbed ASP5878, which has been shown in studies to block FGFR1, FGFR2, FGFR3, and FGFR4 kinases. Alongside the development of the drug, Ventana will advance an immunohistochemistry test that researchers can use to identify which patients with certain types of solid tumors have FGF19 expression.

Ventana and Astellas didn't disclose the financial terms of the deal, but the collaborative effort may “quickly move from early-stage biomarker hypothesis testing to late-stage companion diagnostic development with Astellas' targeted therapies in oncology," Doug Ward, VP of Ventana Companion Diagnostics, said in a statement.

Qiagen also inked a master collaboration deal with Astellas last year to advance diagnostics for the development of the same FGFR inhibitor, ASP5878, and an EGFR inhibitor, ASP8273. At the time, Qiagen said the deal allowed Astellas access to its capabilities for developing assays based on a range of platforms, including PCR, next-generation sequencing, as well as testing technologies using liquid and tissue biopsies.