Molecular diagnostics company Myriad Genetics signed an agreement with PharmaMar, a company that specializes in developing marine-derived drugs, under which Myriad will conduct homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) testing on patients enrolled in PharmaMar’s Phase II clinical study of PM1183, a drug candidate which can induce double-stranded DNA breaks to cause cell death. Although this is not the first molecular diagnostic partnership Myriad has made with PharmaMar involving a Phase II clinical study of PM1183 (the previous one was made back in July and involved conducting BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 testing on enrolled patients), this partnership is reportedly Myriad Genetics’ first publicly announced commercial collaboration with its new HRD test. 

According to Myriad, the HRD test is able to detect when a tumor has lost the ability to repair DNA damage and would therefore be more susceptible to the DNA-damaging classes of drugs. The company says that the HRD test is effective at detecting the loss of function irrespective of whether the defects in the genes involved in the DNA repair mechanism were caused by hereditary germ line mutations or somatic mutations accumulated during the patient’s life.

Myriad’s HRD test has reportedly been shown to accurately predict drug response in both ovarian cancer patients and triple negative breast cancer patients. Under this agreement, Myriad will assess HRD status in patients who have been treated with PM1183 in PharmaMar’s Phase II clinical study in the hope of garnering more information surrounding the role of HRD status in PM1183 response.

“We believe HRD status is the most effective mechanism for assessing patient response to DNA-damaging drugs and look forward to working closely with PharmaMar on this exciting new companion diagnostic program,” said Peter Meldrum, president and CEO of Myriad Genetics.

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