Source: © olly/Fotolia
Source: © olly/Fotolia

Dako, an Agilent Technologies company specializing in providing cancer diagnostics, said today it has again expanded a three-year-old collaboration with Amgen focused on companion diagnostics.

The value of the expanded collaboration and other financial terms were not disclosed. Dako said the expanded “multi-year” collaboration will allow both companies to benefit from knowledge-sharing within drug-diagnostic R&D, particularly in relation to companion diagnostic products.

“Together we will continue our work in the development of high-quality companion diagnostic products to enable physicians and pathologists to identify cancer patients who are more likely to respond to a specific therapy,” Jacob Thaysen, president of Agilent's Diagnostics and Genomics Group, said in a statement.

Dako and Amgen launched their collaboration in January 2012, when they agreed to develop a diagnostic test for an undisclosed Amgen drug candidate that Dako said was “targeted for a rare and deadly cancer.” A month later, the companies began a second collaboration to develop pharmDx™ for an undisclosed Amgen cancer drug candidate in clinical development. Dako was acquired by Agilent in May 2012 for $2.2 billion.

Amgen’s online pipeline, last updated February 12,  lists six Phase I compounds with cancer indications, as well as three Phase II and five Phase III compounds.

Last year the companies expanded their partnership, as Dako initiated a new project with Amgen to develop a molecular diagnostic test using Dako’s IQFISH hybridization buffer.

The IQFISH hybridization buffer, introduced by Dako in 2012, is designed to slash diagnostic test turnaround time from 17 hours to just 3.5 hours. It enables pathology labs—for the first time—to run DNA-based hybridization assays quickly, with distinct and higher fluorescent signal intensity compared to traditional FISH assays.

Amgen is among several biopharma giants with which Dako has teamed up. Last year, Dako launched a collaboration with Merck & Co. to develop a companion diagnostic test designed to analyze the potential tumor biomarker PD-L1, as part of the clinical development program for Merck & Co.’s investigational anti-PD-1 antibody under study as a potential cancer treatment.

In the two years preceding the Amgen deal, Dako inked agreements with AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Roche’s Genentech subsidiary.

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