Roche links with Boehringer Ingelheim in companion Dx deal

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Roche's ($RHHBY) Ventana Medical Systems division will link up with Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim to develop companion diagnostic tests for new cancer drugs. Neither side is disclosing financial details, but the deal is the latest example of how personalized medicine now routinely links the drug development and diagnostics worlds.

Ventana says it has worked with more than 45 biopharmaceutical companies over the last 10 years, in addition to Boehringer Ingelheim. Bayer, Pfizer ($PFE), and Takeda's Millennium unit are among the drug makers that have inked companion diagnostics deals with Ventana. Earlier this month, Ventana won Chinese regulatory approval for a companion diagnostic that pairs with Pfizer's targeted lung cancer drug Xalkori.

Ventana brings to the Boehringer Ingelheim deal its immunohistochemistry technology, a long track record developing companion diagnostics and experience with premarket approval submissions. Boehringer Ingelheim, in turn, will work closely with the company as it develops new cancer drugs. If all goes well, cancer drugs developed as part of the deal will have corresponding diagnostics tests that can identify patients for whom the treatments will work best.

With another deal in hand, Ventana once again proves its worth to Roche, which snatched up the tissue diagnostics company for $3.4 billion in 2008. Ventana said it is now involved in over 150 collaborative companion diagnostics development projects around the world.

"We look forward to partnering with Ventana and accessing their significant capabilities and expertise in developing companion diagnostics," Klaus Dugi, Boehringer Ingelheim's corporate senior vice president of medicine, said in a statement.

- read the release

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