R-Biopharm said today it will partner with Merck KGaA to develop companion diagnostics through a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

The collaboration will cover research, development, and launching of novel companion diagnostics—as well as provide for future partnerships by the companies across a broad range of therapeutic areas and technologies, R-Biopharm said.

The collaboration is the first between the companies, although individually R-Biopharm and Merck KGaA have launched companion diagnostics partnerships.

In July, for example, R-Biopharm agreed to co-develop companion diagnostic tests with Apogenix for its lead immuno-oncology candidate APG101 for glioblastoma, through a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

And in October, R-Biopharm took over the business operations of GeneWake, a Munich-based developer of diagnostics for personalized treatment of tumors.

A month earlier, as part of a global alliance to jointly develop and commercialize the immune checkpoint inhibitor avelumab, Merck KGaA and its partner Pfizer joined Dako, an Agilent Technologies company, to launch efforts to develop a companion diagnostic test for the candidate. The Merck–Pfizer alliance could net up to $2.85 billion for the German drug developer.

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