News Feature | November 14, 2014

QIAGEN And Novartis Partner For Companion Diagnostics

By Estel Grace Masangkay

QIAGEN, a Netherlands-based company specializing in assays and technologies, announced that it has signed into a master collaboration agreement with Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis to develop companion diagnostics for Novartis’ products.

Under the terms of the non-exclusive agreement, Novartis and QIAGEN will develop and commercialize companion diagnostics that will be paired with Novartis’ existing drugs as well as investigational compounds in its development pipeline.

QIAGEN’s companion diagnostic programs include platforms for molecular testing, real-time for PCR assays, and the multi-modal, multi-analyte Modaplex system that allows for simultaneous analysis of multiple DNA and RNA biomarker sample types. Peer M. Schatz, CEO of QIAGEN, said that the company is delighted to partner with Novartis. “Healthcare providers are increasingly benefitting from personalized treatment strategies based on genomic insights, to select the right drug for the right patient at the right time and in the right dose. This broad agreement gives Novartis and QIAGEN the flexibility to pursue co-development projects. We are committed to working with partners like Novartis to make improvements in patients’ lives possible.”

The collaboration will help Novartis advance the development of its candidate products. This month the company announced that it will present new data for secukinumab as investigational treatment in psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. However, Novartis also reported that an FDA committee voted against its investigational drug LBH589 plus bortezomib and dexamethasone for the treatment of previously treated multiple myeloma.

The new agreement with Novartis is QIAGEN’s ninth master agreement in the development of companion diagnostics. In July, QIAGEN announced its partnership with AstraZeneca to develop a companion test for AZ’s Iressa, a drug for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Last month, the company also inked a master collaboration agreement with Japan-based Astellas Pharma to develop and market companion diagnostics for Astellas’ cancer drugs and other treatments. Similar to Novartis, the agreement allows for unrestricted access to QIAGEN’s assay production capabilities.