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Life Technologies pairs up with Merck Serono in new collaboration
CARLSBAD, Calif.—Life Technologies Corp. and Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, have announced the establishment of a collaboration for current and future companion diagnostics projects. The arrangement represents the first collaboration between Life Technologies and Merck Serono, and is a non-exclusive agreement that will initially cover a project for oncology while providing for a long-term collaboration across potentially several Life instrument platforms and a variety of therapeutic areas. No financial details for the agreement were released.
"Life Technologies' combination of platforms and capabilities are unique in the companion diagnostics space, particularly in oncology," Ronnie Andrews, president of Genetic & Medical Sciences at Life Technologies, said in a press release. "With our recent acquisition of Compendia Bioscience, we possess bioinformatics solutions and cancer biomarker expertise to collaborate with pharma on each phase of the drug development process, from biomarker hypothesis to assay development concurrently with drugs to approved diagnostic tests."
"By helping pharma target the right cancer patients in clinical trials, we believe that we have the potential to rapidly accelerate cancer drug development and this is good for everyone — for Life Technologies and our pharma partners, and most importantly, for patients," Andrews added.
Life Technologies and Merck will work to combine biomarkers identified through Merck's translational research with Life Technologies' proprietary platform technologies, and from there, develop companion diagnostics alongside Merck's drug development programs. In addition, the partners will also pursue regulatory approval of Merck's drug candidate and Life Technologies' companion diagnostic. Should this collaboration agreement be successful, a commercialization agreement will follow, in which Life Technologies will be responsible for commercializing the companion diagnostic in agreed-upon territories.
"Life Technologies is uniquely positioned to provide pharma a flexible, cost effective means to manage the evolution of the of companion diagnostic assays through the drug development process," Andrews commented in a statement about the deal.
The collaboration with Merck is the second agreement Life Technologies has announced in as many months. In mid-June, the company announced the signing of a licensing agreement with Suzhou Ribo Life Sciences that grants Ribo exclusive rights for the development and manufacture of siRNA therapeutics in China using Life Technologies' Invivofectamine Rx delivery technology. In combination with Invivofectamine Rx, Ribo will develop proprietary siRNA molecules to create a new platform that can address diseases of high unmet need within the Chinese healthcare system. Life Technologies will be entitled to receive milestone and royalty payments on any Invivofectamine Rx-based therapeutics that result.
SOURCE: Life Technologies press release