Initial focus will be on hormone-dependent cancers as well as neuroendocrine and pituitary tumors.

Ipsen and BioMérieux inked a broad partnership agreement to develop therapeutics and associated companion diagnostics, primarily for hormone-dependent cancers. The initial focus of the research will include products for prostate and breast cancers, along with neuroendocrine tumors and pituitary tumors.

“Our goal is to reinforce personalized medicine and contribute through this partnership to the novel paradigm in medicine, which is increasingly patient-driven rather than disease-driven,” comments professor Christian Bréchot, Ph.D., BioMérieux board member and vp in charge of medical and scientific affairs at the Institute Mérieux.

The joint development programs will exploit Ipsen’s portfolio of compounds and BioMérieux’ diagnostic tests. It builds on an existing, longstanding relationship, the firms note. In 2007 the partners reported on the development of a companion assay to identify patients most likely to respond to Irostustat (BN83495), Ipsen’s steroid sulfatase enzyme inhibitor. Irostustat is currently undergoing Phase II development for the treatment of advanced endometrial cancer and Phase I evaluation as a treatment for breast and prostate cancers.

BioMérieux specializes in the development of in vitro diagnostic systems, reagents, and software for medical and industrial applications. Its primary areas include the diagnosis of infectious diseases such as hepatitis B, HIV, tuberculosis, and respiratory infections, as well as cardiovascular diseases and cancer. BioMerieux owns bioTheranostics, which discovers, develops, and commercializes molecular-based diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive tests for cancer.

Irostustat is Ipsen’s lead in-house clinical-stage anticancer candidate. The firm is also Debiopharm’s partner for the marketed prostate cancer therapy, Decapeptyl® (triptorelin pamoate), for which Ipsen recently reported sales of €270.2 million (about $368 million) in 2010, up 7.7% on 2009. Decapeptyl is separately undergoing Phase III trials for adjuvant breast cancer therapy. Ipsen in addition has an exclusive European license to develop and market the Phase III-stage prostate cancer candidate, toremifene, from GTx.

Ipsen has a multifaceted research-stage anticancer pipeline. Its STX 140 program is focused on the development of multitargeting “angiomate’”compounds that exhibit both antiproliferative and antiangiogenic properties, for the potential treatment of hormone-dependent tumors and some hematologic malignancies. BIM 46187 is a solid tumor candidate designed to act on G-protein receptors. A 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (1 and 3) inhibitor program is centered on the potential treatment of hormone-dependent breast and prostate cancers. The firm’s neuroendocrine tumor program aims to develop cytotoxic peptide conjugates targeting peptide hormone receptors.

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