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Jul 25, 2014

Qiagen Adds Cancer Biomarkers to Personalized Healthcare Pipeline

  • Qiagen has acquired an exclusive global license from the University of Tokyo for the biomarker SF3B1. The company said it sees potential for developing companion diagnostics to guide myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) treatment with new anticancer compounds under development that target the SF3B1 gene.

    Mutations of this gene, which Qiagen said is a significant component of the spliceosome machinery, indicate a more favorable disease progression for patients than the wild-type gene, so testing for these gene variants could potentially provide important guidance for treatment.

    Qiagen licensed the SF3B1 biomarker in an ongoing expansion of its oncohematology offering for clinical research and diagnostics. Three additional spliceosome biomarkers implicated in various blood cancers and targeting variants in the U2AF35 (U2AF1), ZRSR2, and SFRS2 genes are also part of the license agreement. They are included in Qiagen’s GeneRead DNAseq Leukemia V2 gene panel for next-generation sequencing (NGS), which has been launched earlier this month together with 13 other new cancer gene panels that are compatible with any NGS sequencer and customizable to include other genes or gene regions of clinical or biological interest.

    “Building on a broad portfolio of molecular diagnostics for blood cancers, Qiagen continues to partner with clinical researchers at pharmaceutical companies and academic centers, to extend the benefits of personalized healthcare,” said Vincent Fert, Qiagen’s personalized healthcare program leader. “Because several Pharma companies are developing potential anti-cancer drugs targeting the SF3B1 gene, this biomarker also holds potential for codevelopment as a companion diagnostic.”

    In May, the company partnered with Eli Lilly to codevelop universal and modular assay panels that can simultaneously analyze DNA and RNA biomarkers targeting multiple cellular pathways involved in common types of cancer and associated with several therapies Lilly is currently developing.

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