Qiagen is partnering with Astellas Pharma to develop and commercialize companion diagnostics paired with Astellas drugs for use in cancer and other diseases. Per the master collaboration agreement, Astellas is gaining access to Qiagen’s development capabilities for assays based on PCR, NGS, and multimodal testing technologies using liquid and tissue biopsies; Qiagen says the agreement's scope isn't limited to any specific sample types, platforms, indications or biomarkers.

Two initial projects in the collaboration will focus on oncology and will involve pairing Qiagen diagnostics with Astellas compounds in early-stage trials: ASP5878, a fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitor, and ASP8273, an EGFR inhibitor. 

“With the master agreement and the first two projects to be disclosed, Qiagen is further expanding its leadership in personalized medicine—including in Japan, one of the world's largest markets for companion diagnostics,” Qiagen CEO Peer M. Schatz said in a statement. “The master agreement provides Astellas and Qiagen flexibility and a strong foundation to add further development projects across other therapeutic areas, across analytical techniques, and across a broad array of sampling options.”

Qiagen adds that this deal is its eighth framework agreement for developing companion diagnostics. Back in July, the firm entered a collaboration with AstraZeneca to develop a noninvasive diagnostic test to identify patients with non-small-cell lung cancer who are suitable for treatment with Iressa® (gefitinib). Qiagen also partnered with Eli Lilly back in May to codevelop assay panels that can simultaneously analyze DNA and RNA biomarkers targeting multiple cellular pathways involved in common types of cancer and associated with several therapies Lilly is currently developing.

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