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Abbott expands companion Dx agreement with GSK to add test for additional investigational cancer immunotherapy antigen
DES PLAINES, Ill.—Abbott reports that it will expand its existing agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to include the development of an additional companion diagnostic test in support of GSK's cancer immunotherapy research program.
The existing agreements between Abbott and GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals S.A., announced in July 2009 and March 2010, focused on the development of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to screen non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma tumors for expression of the MAGE-A3 antigen. Under the expanded agreement, Abbott will develop a PCR test for use on the Abbott m2000rt instrument to screen non-small cell lung cancer tumors for the expression of the PRAME antigen. PRAME is a preferentially expressed antigen of melanoma that is expressed in 69 percent of non-small cell lung cancer cases, as well as in a wide variety of cancer types, including melanoma, breast, ovarian, and bladder cancer, with limited expression in normal cells.
Abbott's sees its development efforts in areas such as MAGE-A3 and PRAME as being among they keys to further building its leadership position in cancer diagnostics and personalized medicine.
"This expanded collaboration, along with Abbott's other recently announced partnerships in oncology, demonstrates the continued commitment Abbott is making to assess biomarkers linked to immunotherapies in various cancers," said Stafford O'Kelly, head of Abbott's molecular diagnostics business. "This agreement is a testament to the scientific advances Abbott and the industry is making in personalized medicine and companion diagnostics, which are helping ensure the right medicines get to the right cancer patients."
GSK's antigen-specific cancer immunotherapy (ASCI) program is focused on a novel class of medicines designed to train the immune system to recognize and eliminate cancer cells in a highly specific manner. These novel cancer immunotherapeutics combine tumor antigens, delivered as purified recombinant proteins, and GSK's proprietary Adjuvant Systems, which are specific combinations of immunostimulating compounds selected to increase the anti-tumor immune response.
As GSK and Abbott note, ASCIs are being investigated in the clinic to support their use to reduce the risk of tumor recurrence following surgery, or to impact tumor growth in an early metastatic setting. The highly specific mode of action of GSK's ASCIs is said to allow development of diagnostic tools to aid in selecting patients eligible for the treatment, depending on the expression of the tumor antigens.
MAGE-A3 is a tumor-specific antigen that is expressed in a large variety of cancers, including melanoma, non-small cell lung, head and neck, and bladder cancer, with no expression in normal cells. Expression of the MAGE-A3 gene has been observed in testicular cells but without antigen presentation capabilities. MAGE-A3 protein has been in-licensed by GSK from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, reportedly the largest international academic institute dedicated to understanding and controlling cancer.
SOURCE: GSK/Abbott news release