MDxHealth SA, a molecular diagnostic company that develops and commercializes epigenetic tests to support cancer treatment, has expanded its collaboration with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. This expanded collaboration covers the development and worldwide commercialization of MDxHealth’s MGMT (methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase) diagnostic test (PredictMDxTM for Glioblastoma), which might help to identify those glioblastoma patients who might be more likely to benefit from cilengitide-based therapies that are currently under investigation, in combination with temozolomide and radiotherapy.
Cilengitide is Merck’s cancer drug candidate currently in Phase III development for newly diagnosed glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. As part of the expanded collaboration, Merck has agreed to support MDxHealth’s development and regulatory activities for the MGMT test and, after regulatory approval, the coordinated launch together with cilengitide in glioblastoma. Financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed.
MDxHealth’s PredictMDx for Glioblastoma test has already been used for the identification and stratification of newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients enrolled in cilengitide clinical studies who may benefit from combination treatment with temozolomide, radiotherapy and cilengitide. The test assesses the methylation status of the methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) gene promoter. The MGMT gene is thought to contribute to cellular DNA repair; and, when the gene is methylated, it is no longer expressed in normal amounts leading to a proposed increased responsiveness of tumor cells to some chemotherapeutic regimens.