Bristol-Myers Squibb, New York, and Qiagen, Hilden, Germany, have signed an agreement to explore the use of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology to develop gene expression profiles as predictive or prognostic tools for use with Bristol-Myers Squibb novel immunooncology therapies in cancer treatment. Immunooncology therapies offer a novel way to treat cancer by using drugs to target the body’s immune system to help fight cancer.
Under their initial agreement, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Qiagen intend to develop gene expression profiles for several Bristol-Myers Squibb immunooncology molecules. The companies also plan to enter into a further agreement to develop diagnostic products using the jointly developed gene expression profiles to expand the use of NGS technology with other Bristol-Myers Squibb immunooncology therapies.
“Greater precision in the treatment of cancer may enable faster decisionmaking to identify which patient populations are most likely to derive benefit from our immunooncology agents,” says Fouad Namouni, MD, head of development, oncology, at Bristol-Myers Squibb. “We believe working with Qiagen will help develop better diagnostic tools to target the most appropriate immunotherapies across a number of different tumor types.”
“We are very pleased to work with Bristol-Myers Squibb to potentially create what could be the first-ever NGS-based companion or complementary diagnostic to provide key insights for personalized decisionmaking in the rapidly expanding area of immunooncology,” says Peer M. Schatz, CEO of Qiagen. “Our teams at Qiagen are looking forward to working with Bristol-Myers Squibb to leverage the power of NGS technology to potentially improve outcomes for patients.”
Qiagen and Bristol-Myers Squibb have been partnering since 2009. A key milestone in this partnership was FDA approval of the Therascreen KRAS companion/complementary diagnostic assay in 2012.