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Celgene to Use Foundation Medicine's Sequencing-Based Test in Cancer Drug Trials

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Celgene will use Foundation Medicine's sequencing-based cancer genomics test in ongoing trials of its drug candidates, the partners said this week.

The goal is to use the test to enable targeted recruitment of patient populations and to stratify patients based on their mutational profile to identify those most likely to respond to Celgene's drug candidates.

The companies did not disclose which cancer drug candidates they will be studying in the collaboration.

Foundation Medicine's test uses next-gen sequencing to analyze clinical tumor specimens for mutations in more than 200 cancer-related genes. According to the company, the test only requires a small amount of material from either formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples, core needle biopsies, or fine needle aspirates.

The test has the "potential to make the drug development process faster and more efficient, enabling us to identify sub-groups of patients in clinical trials who may benefit from our therapies and improve overall outcomes," Raj Chopra, head of translational medicine at Celgene, said in a statement.

The deal with Celgene is Foundation Medicine's second pharmaceutical collaboration. It is also partnering with Novartis in a pilot project to demonstrate the analytical and clinical utility of its test (CSN 4/13/2011).

Foundation Medicine did not disclose what sequencing platform it would use for the collaboration with Celgene, but it currently has several Illumina HiSeq 2000 and Ion Torrent sequencers and is planning to obtain CLIA certification for its facility by the end of the year. Eventually, it wants to make its test widely available to pathologists and oncologists and also expand the number of genes it analyzes.

Financial details and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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