Qiagen is partnering with Eli Lilly to codevelop universal and modular 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. Some of the assays will be based on Qiagen's Modaplex analysis platform, which the Dutch firm says can process multiple sample types and biomarkers in a single test. Qiagen picked up Modaplex, formerly known as ICEplex, from PrimeraDx when it acquired the Boston-area firm.

“Certain applications in biomarker development for tailoring oncology therapeutics require the combined analysis of DNA and RNA, and this collaboration provides a multi-modal, multi-analyte solution that can process multiple sample types and biomarkers in a single test,” Richard B. Gaynor, M.D., Lilly's svp, Oncology-Clinical Product Development and Medical Affairs, said in a statement.

Lilly and Qiagen do have an established companion diagnostic: Qiagen's therascreen® KRAS RGQ PCR Kit, which was approved by the FDA in 2012 to detect KRAS gene mutations in metastatic colorectal cancer patients, can indicate which patients would benefit from a tailored oncology therapy marketed by Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb. 

In addition, back in February of 2013, the firms announced a collaboration aimed at developing and commercializing companion diagnostics for pairing with Lilly investigational and approved medicines across all therapeutic areas; the agreement was designed to provide a framework for future projects such as the current one. In addition, the companies also partnered in 2011 to develop a companion diagnostic that evaluates a gene mutation that plays a role in some blood cancers. 

This story has been updated to reflect that the Modaplex platform was acquired from PrimeraDx. 

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