Test will be used in clinical trials and could provide the basis for companion diagnostics at commercialization.

Asuragen through its pharmacogenomic services division entered into a research collaboration with Merck & Co. to develop a biomarker and diagnostic test for cancer drug development.

Merck’s oncology research program will identify an expression signature, which Asuragen will use to develop a diagnostic assay. Merck will be able to utilize the test in its cancer clinical trials. The assay may also serve as the basis for commercial companion diagnostic tests for oncology therapies.

Asuragen will receive upfront fees and expects to complete development in 2008. Upon completion and validation, the company will be eligible to additional payments associated with successful transfer of the diagnostic assays to clinical reference laboratories.

“Asuragen’s business model of providing GLP molecular biology services, CLIA testing capabilities, and GMP diagnostic assay development and manufacture is uniquely suited to collaborate with pharmaceutical partners in the clinical validation of drugs in development and the potential future companion diagnostic tests,” according to Matt Winkler, Ph.D., CEO and CSO of Asuragen.

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