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When Vectibix received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration in 2006, "Amgen already knew the response rate was low," according to an Amgen official. The company began collecting patient tissue samples from mid-2005 to early 2007, knowing it would "need those samples for a biomarker analysis."

The company said that developing the test would be its priority in 2009, putting it on a somewhat accelerated development schedule. Rosetta had originally said the test might not be available until 2010.

Bruno Sobral, Michael Gilman, Kathy Gibson, Uwe Christians,Herbert Fritsche, Dan Crowther

The company plans this year to add new markers to its HERmark breast cancer test, and will try to ink more collaborations with drug makers in order to embed its VeraTag assays in cancer drug trials.

Without specific guidance from the FDA regarding KRAS testing, drugmakers Bristol-Myers Squibb and Amgen are facing lower sales of their colorectal cancer drugs Erbitux and Vectibix, and may need to get creative in how they market their drugs to patients and doctors.

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