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A deeper companionship
HILDEN, Germany—Building on "the two companies' recent mutual successes," QIAGEN NV announced in mid-February that it has entered into a master collaboration agreement with Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co. to develop and commercialize companion diagnostics for pairing with Lilly investigational and approved medicines across all therapeutic areas.
This agreement builds on past work between QIAGEN and Lilly, going back to fall 2011 when they announced a partnership around the development, manufacturing and commercialization of a molecular companion diagnostic for an early-stage investigational JAK2 inhibitor compound for oncology under development by Lilly.
"The collaboration with Lilly is a strong testament to QIAGEN's capabilities in companion diagnostics, biomarkers and personalized healthcare," said Dr. Stephen Little, vice president personalized healthcare at QIAGEN, at that time. QIAGEN currently offers some 20 tests for use in personalized healthcare.
In addition, as QIAGEN has made note of recently, it is "actively expanding its pipeline of personalized healthcare technologies and intends to submit several companion diagnostics in the coming years for U.S. regulatory approval." As part of that, QIAGEN notes that it has more than 15 projects underway to co-develop and market companion diagnostics with leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies, including such Lilly peers as Amgen, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer.
The new and expanded agreement between QIAGEN and Lilly—the financial terms of which are not being disclosed—"provides a framework for Lilly and QIAGEN to collaborate on future projects—across all of Lilly's therapeutic areas," notes QIAGEN.
"It also further underscores QIAGEN's leading position in partnering with global pharmaceutical companies to deliver the benefits of personalized medicine to patients and healthcare providers."
"Tailored therapies are a key component of Lilly's strategy of providing improved outcomes for individual patients. By working with partners like QIAGEN, we are advancing a number of tailored therapeutics in an effort to target the right medicine to the right patient," said Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, vice president of tailored therapeutics at Lilly and CEO of Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lilly. "This collaboration with QIAGEN extends our capabilities to more quickly and cost-effectively bring innovative new medicines, alongside advanced diagnostics, to patients worldwide who are waiting."
This expanded relationship with Lilly is a direct result of the companies' ongoing work together, according to Dr. Ulrich Schriek, senior vice president of global business development for QIAGEN, who adds, "This agreement lays the groundwork for potential future projects with Lilly in various therapeutic areas and enables significant efficiencies for future development programs by standardizing interfaces and processes between our organizations. Through partnerships like this, QIAGEN offers pharma companies a cost-effective way to maximize the value and benefits of potential new medicines in their pipelines, while also reducing the risks in medicine development."
QIAGEN maintains that it is at the forefront globally in developing and validating personalized healthcare tests that provide physicians with genomic information to guide the selection of medicines in treating disease, pointing, for example, to last month's announced submission of its therascreen EGFR RGQ PCR Kit test to the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) as a proposed companion diagnostic to guide treatment with a new investigational oncology compound developed by Boehringer Ingelheim.
QIAGEN and Lilly also previously collaborated on companion diagnostics designed to run on QIAGEN's Rotor-Gene Q system, a component of the QIAsymphony family of automated instruments. QIAGEN's strategy is to develop FDA-approved diagnostics in the United States for use on this platform.
Looking at the most recent Lilly deal and deals that led up to it, both with Lilly and with other partners, Zacks Investment Research wrote in an investor's note Feb. 15 that, "We are encouraged by QIAGEN's good progress and strategic moves, which complement its objective to leverage leadership in sample and assay technologies across its four customer classes."
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