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GEN News Highlights : Nov 12, 2012

AZ, Foundation Medicine Eye Targeted Cancer Therapies

AstraZeneca will use Foundation Medicine’s molecular information platform to identify alterations in tumor genes that may predict a person’s response or resistance to targeted cancer therapies.

Foundation Medicine was also granted right of first negotiation for the development of potential diagnostic products under the multi-year collaboration. The collaboration will use Foundation Medicine’s initial clinical product FoundationOne™, a genomic profile designed to identify a patient’s individual molecular alterations, then match them with relevant targeted therapies and clinical trials.

“Together, we expect to enable a more individualized, targeted approach to cancer drug development and clinical trials,” Michael J. Pellini, M.D., Foundation Medicine‘s president and CEO, said in a statement.

Cancer is among AZ’s primary areas of drug development focus, along with gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, and infectious disease.

However, AZ is not the first pharma giant with which Foundation Medicine has collaborated. In June, Novartis agreed to run Foundation Medicine’s genomic profiling on most Phase I and II clinical trial enrollees over the next three years, with the goal of accelerating the development of Novartis’ portfolio of targeted cancer therapeutics and thus expanding treatment options for patient use. That collaboration marked an expansion from the two companies’ initial strategic pilot announced in January 2011, in which Foundation Medicine agreed to develop, enhance, and optimize its cancer genome panel test for Novartis.

In January 2012, Foundation Medicine agreed to use its genomic sequencing and analytic capabilities to identify genetic biomarkers and potential companion diagnostics for “select” Sanofi oncology drug candidates, according to a statement from the companies.