Source: iStock/© AlexRaths
Source: iStock/© AlexRaths

Roche’s Ventana Medical Systems said today it has inked a master collaboration agreement with Astellas Pharma to develop new automated tissue diagnostics to support therapeutic compounds in development. The value of the collaboration was not disclosed.

Initial projects related to the collaboration will center on creating a diagnostic test intended to support early-stage clinical trials for Astellas’ Phase I cancer compound ASP5878.

ASP5878 is a small-molecule fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitor designed to fight cancer by blocking the kinase activities of FGFR1, FGFR2, FGFR3 and FGFR4. ASP5878 was developed in-house.

Ventana said it will develop, in parallel with ASP5878, an immunohistochemistry (IHC) test identifying FGF19 in certain solid tumors.

IHC is one of Ventana’s seven product areas; the other six include in situ hybridization (ISH), hematoxylin and eosin (H&E), special stains, companion diagnostics, advanced workflow, and image analysis.

“We are pleased to expand our relationship with Astellas with this master companion diagnostic agreement, which allows our collaborative projects to quickly move from early stage biomarker hypothesis testing to late stage companion diagnostic development with Astellas' targeted therapies in oncology,” Doug Ward, vp, Ventana Companion Diagnostics, said in a statement.

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