Genomic Health and Almac sign in-licensing agreement

To develop new cancer diagnostic test

Genomic Health, a US supplier of genomic-based diagnostic tests and Almac have jointly announced that Genomic Health will exclusively license Almac’s technology and intellectual property to further develop, validate and commercialise a multi-gene test to predict benefit from DNA damage-based chemotherapy drugs, such as the commonly used anthracycline-based regimens, in breast cancer. Such a test would be particularly useful for high-risk breast cancer patients who are eligible for chemotherapy based on their Oncotype DX score.

Genomic Health has made an up-front payment of US$9m to Almac, and will pay additional milestones on reaching certain clinical and commercial endpoints. Upon successful commercialisation of the test, Genomic Health will pay additional royalties to Almac.

'Working with Almac, we have the opportunity to gain further insight on the role of DNA repair in drug efficacy, which may provide clinical utility to help select which breast cancer patients benefit from specific chemotherapy drugs and regimens,' said Steven Shak, Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Genomic Health. 'Over the past ten years Oncotype DX has played a critical role in predicting benefit of chemotherapy, in general, for more than 400,000 oestrogen-receptor positive breast cancer patients. This new test may address another unmet need by providing additional information specific to the benefit from anthracycline-based regimens for high-risk patients and possibly those with triple negative breast cancer as well.'

Anthracycline-based chemotherapy regimens are commonly used to treat breast cancer, but have significant toxicities that can be debilitating and have an impact on long-term quality of life.

Paul Harkin, President and Managing Director of Almac Diagnostics, said: 'We see tests such as this having a significant impact on accelerating personalised healthcare thereby improving the clinical management of cancer patients.'