New sequencing-based portfolio will include assay for gene involved in lumiracoxib toxicity.

Qiagen is expanding an existing partnership with Genome Diagnostics through a new agreement to develop and commercialize six new HLA tests. The sequencing-based tests will be based on Qiagen’s Pyrosequencing platform.

Qiagen says one of the new assays will assess the HLA DQA1 gene, which is associated with adverse reactions to Novartis’ lumiracoxib painkiller. The drug had to be withdrawn from the market in 2007 due to concerns about liver toxicity. Other biomarkers targeted by the new tests will include HLA-B*27 and HLA-B*57 alleles, which can be used to identify patients at risk of developing inflammatory diseases such as Morbus Bechterew, Qiagen points out.

Qiagen has been working with Genome Diagnostics since 2006 on the development of new HLA product lines for applications in prevention and personalized healthcare. The firm’s existing portfolio includes several molecular tests for DNA-based HLA typing.

“Since HLA genes are increasingly associated with a growing number of diseases and the patients’ response to drugs, HLA testing allows for the assessment of disease risks and for the development of tailored treatments,” remarks Bob Barrett, Qiagen’s vp of global marketing for molecular diagnostics. “That’s why the tests we develop as a result of this collaboration will make a perfect addition to our molecular diagnostics portfolio for applications in prevention and personalized healthcare.”

Netherlands-based Genome Diagnostics specializes in the development of assays and analysis software for high-resolution tissue typing for transplantation medicine and companion diagnostics.

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