CLN Article

Industry Profiles

In This Issue...

Covance Genomics Laboratory Acquired by LabCorp

For an undisclosed amount, LabCorp has bought Covance Genomics Laboratory and its associated genomics business with the aim of enhancing its biomarker development and companion diagnostics capabilities. Currently, Covance supports drug development by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with its complex genomic analysis services, which include gene expression studies, translational biomarker projects, and next-generation sequencing applications. LabCorp expects these services will complement its clinical trials offering, which already provides a number of core genomic services such as mutation analysis, pharmacogenetics, and pharmacogenomics to late-phase clinical trials. With the acquisition of Covance, LabCorp will now be able to offer clients a more comprehensive set of genomic services in earlier stages of drug development as well. Additionally, LabCorp will continue offering specialty genomic services to Covance clients.

Ventana, Bayer Expand Co-Diagnostics Partnership

Ventana Medical Systems, a member of the Roche Group, has inked a multi-year agreement with Bayer Pharma AG to develop companion diagnostics for Bayer's biomarker-targeted cancer therapeutics. This new agreement extends an existing collaboration between the two companies and will focus on immunohistochemistry, which is one of Ventana's specialties. Under the terms of the deal, Ventana will create an expert team with resources exclusively assigned to projects in Bayer's development portfolio, and will work with Bayer from early biomarker discovery through test commercialization.

Roche Licenses emPCR Patent Portfolio to Sysmex Inostics

Roche has signed an agreement granting Sysmex Inostics GmbH a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-bearing license for its emulsion PCR (emPCR) portfolio of patents. EmPCR involves isolating each individual DNA molecule within a water/oil emulsion that includes a capture bead and PCR amplification reagents. This isolation allows for massive parallelization by enabling labs to use one sample preparation for the equivalent of a million separate PCR reactions. "Roche has an active out-licensing program for its emPCR-based intellectual property portfolio," said Dan Zabrowski, head of Roche's Sequencing Unit. "By continuing to out-license this technology, we contribute to the development of well-validated techniques within the molecular diagnostics field." Sysmex Inostics, which is primarily a clinical service lab, will use this technology to analyze free circulating tumor-DNA in plasma to monitor cancer prognosis and predict drug response in clinical trial patients.

Insight Genetics, Vanderbilt-Ingram Team Up on Breast Cancer Co-Diagnostics

Insight Genetics and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) have joined forces to identify genetic markers that could help guide the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients with targeted therapeutics. As part of this collaboration, Insight Genetics will work with Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, director of VICC, as well as the laboratory group at VICC to build on their recently published research identifying up to six distinct sub-types of TNBC. Going forward, Insight Genetics and Pietenpol will focus on identifying novel genetic drivers for these various TNBC sub-types with the eventual aim of discovering new TNBC biomarkers and developing assays based on them.

"Dr. Pietenpol's work shows tremendous promise for identifying unique treatment options for each molecular sub-type of triple-negative breast cancer," said Eric Dahlhauser, chairman and CEO of Insight Genetics.

"We look forward to working closely with her and her colleagues at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center as we apply our expertise in assay design and commercialization to improve treatment development and selection for this population of cancer patients."

Caprion Collaborates With G3 on Heart Disease Study

Global Genomics Group (G3) and Caprion Proteomics have entered a partnership, under the terms of which Caprion will identify blood-based protein markers for the ongoing Genetic Loci and Burden of Atherosclerotic Lesions (GLOBAL) study. Funded by G3, GLOBAL is using panomic analysis and coronary computed tomographic angiography to discover novel biomarkers and pharmaceutical targets for cardiovascular disease.

One of the keys to understanding and treating cardiovascular disease is the ability to monitor and quantify large numbers of proteins in complex samples, and as part of GLOBAL, Caprion will provide this capability with its CellCarta technology. CellCarta is an industrialized proteomic platform specifically designed for large-scale studies. Caprion will use it to analyze and measure the differential expression of proteins in plasma samples from the patients enrolled in GLOBAL. This in-depth assessment of plasma proteins will complement the other "omic" approaches employed by the GLOBAL study.