Bayer partners with Foundation Medicine on companion diagnostics for cancer drugs, starting with TRK inhibitor Vitrakvi

Bayer will collaborate with Foundation Medicine on the development of next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based companion diagnostics for a number of cancer drugs, starting with the former's TRK inhibitor Vitrakvi (larotrectinib), the companies said Wednesday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Vitrakvi gained FDA approval last year for the treatment of certain adult and paediatric patients with solid tumours that have an NTRK gene fusion without a known acquired resistance mutation. Robert LaCaze, head of Bayer's oncology strategic business unit, said "the development of a companion diagnostic for Vitrakvi, and our broader collaboration with Foundation Medicine, is an important step forward toward expanding access to testing and identifying the right treatment options for patients with cancer."

The companies noted that the agreement covers Foundation Medicine's full portfolio of tests, including FoundationOne CDx, which was approved in 2017 in the US as the first comprehensive genomic profiling test for solid tumours.

Earlier this year, Bayer announced that it was acquiring exclusive global licensing rights to Vitrakvi, as well as the TRK inhibitor BAY 2731954, also known as LOXO-195, from Loxo Oncology via an option triggered by the latter company's takeover by Eli Lilly. Bayer and Loxo had been jointly developing the treatments under the terms of a 2017 partnership worth potentially more than $1.5 billion (for additional analysis, read ViewPoints: Eli Lilly suddenly needs a little more value from Loxo acquisition).

Foundation Medicine previously inked a deal with Pfizer to jointly develop and commercialise companion diagnostics for inclusion in updates of FoundationOne CDx. The firm has also entered into partnerships with AstraZeneca and Novartis to provide genomic profiling in support of the development of targeted therapeutics.

Meanwhile, Roche agreed to acquire all outstanding shares in Foundation Medicine last year after having purchased a majority stake in the firm in 2015.

For related analysis, see Physician Views snap poll results: Are oncologists ready for the latest evolution in biomarker-driven cancer care

To read more Top Story articles, click here.