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Jun 24, 2011

Roche Taps Evotec to Identify Biomarkers of Cancer Drug Activity and Patient Response

  • Roche inked a deal with Evotec for its expertise in the identification of protein activity-based biomarkers that could be used alongside its developmental oncology candidates as pharmacodynamic indicators and potentially as companion diagnostics for therapeutic antibodies or small molecule inhibitors.

    The three-year collaboration will exploit Evotec’s PhosphoScout® platform to identify phosphorylation events related to drug treatment and patient response. Roche will be responsible for carrying out clinical trials and assessing the development of companion diagnostics for patient stratification.

    Evotec acquired the PhosphoScout platform as part of its recent €12 million buyout of Kinaxo Biotechnologies. The quantitative phospho-proteomics platform uses LC/MS/MS technology to investigate changes in cellular signal transduction pathways in response to drug treatment and analyze proteome-wide in vivo phosphorylation patterns.

    The platform is capable of measuring the relative quantities of more than 15,000 phosphorylation sites in a single experiment, according to Kinaxo. Evotec notes that PhosphoScout can be used to investigate the effects of drug action on multiple pathways, identify potential mechanisms of cellular resistance, and for discovery biomarkers of therapeutic response.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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