Lilly, Dako make powerful companions
INDIANAPOLIS—Eli Lilly & Co. Inc. and Dako, an Agilent Technologies company, have agreed upon a master framework for a collaboration on the development and commercialization of companion diagnostics (CDx) for Lilly's oncology product pipeline. These diagnostic tests will help to identify patients who are most likely to benefit from oncology medicines currently under development by Lilly.
The framework also defines and outlines the terms of the collaboration between Dako and Lilly in such as way that contractual negotiations for current and future companion diagnostics projects between the two companies can be executed more swiftly.
Under the agreed-upon framework, Lilly will be exclusively responsible for the development and registration of the therapeutics, including clinical trials. Dako/Agilent will be responsible for developing and registering the CDx assay/system solution.
"Companion diagnostics are cornerstones of personalized medicine," says Susanne Munksted, director of PharmDx Commercial Management at Dako. "Dako has a strong heritage developing companion diagnostic tests in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies."
Dako has previously announced similar partnerships to develop CDx with AstraZeneca PLC, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., OSI Pharmaceuticals LLC, Amgen and Genentech, among others. Dako is responsible for developing and commercializing HercepTest, which was the first tissue-based CDx in oncology in 1998.
Creating CDx for Lilly's oncology pipeline will help its scientists to create tailored therapies, which is one of the major pillars of the company's current R&D strategy.
"Tailored therapies may help to identify patients who are most likely to respond to a specific therapy and, just as importantly, which patients will not," says Eva Groves, communications manager at Lilly. "For patients, this means a patient-specific treatment regimen and, hopefully, improved outcomes. For payers, this means they can be more confident of the value for which they are paying, because our studies will be designed to demonstrate the benefits to specific patient populations."
The agreement plays to the goal shared by both companies of expediting oncology medicines into the hands of patients with unmet medical needs.
"It is Dako and Agilent's aim to build strategic partnerships with companies who have a global presence and the strength and market leadership within oncology to drive therapeutic products through development, registration and commercialization," says Munksted.
"Companion diagnostics play an important role in our tailoring efforts, and we'll continue to partner with leading diagnostics companies like Dako in an effort to bring our investigational medicines, paired with diagnostics, to patients who are waiting," says Groves.
"I warmly welcome Lilly, and I am excited about what we may accomplish together for the benefit of patients worldwide," Dako CEO and Agilent Senior Vice President Lars Holmkvist said in a media release announcing the collaboration. "This agreement heralds our mutual commitment to fighting cancer."
Lilly is the 10th largest pharmaceutical company in the world, with total assets in excess of $33 billion. It manufactures such well-recognized pharmaceuticals brands as Cialis, Cymbalta, Methadone and Prozac, among many others. It currently employs approximately 38,000 people worldwide, including about 6,000 in the United States.
Dako is a Denmark-based cancer diagnostics company that provides antibodies, scientific instruments and software pathology laboratories. California-based Agilent purchased the company in May 2012 from a Swedish private equity firm for $2.2 billion. Dako has annual revenue of more than $300 million and about 1,000 employees. Agilent employs approximately 20,500 people, and reported annual revenues of $6.6 billion in 2011.