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Genzyme agrees thyroid cancer diagnostic deal with Veracyte

Sanofi-owned biotech to complement genomic diagnostic tool with its own Thyrogen product

Genzyme has signed a global co-promotional deal for a genomic diagnostic tool from molecular diagnostics company Veracyte.

The biotech, which is owned by Sanofi, will market and promote Veracyte's technology for improved thyroid nodule diagnosis in the US, with subsequent plans to cover the rest of the world.

Current methods of thyroid cancer diagnosis involving fine needle aspirations (FNAs) produce ambiguous results in up to 30 per cent of cases, according to Genzyme, with the results providing hard to interpret.

Veracyte's tool, called Afirma Thyroid FNA Analysis, aims to improve diagnostic capabilities in thyroid cancer by combining assessment of thyroid nodule FNA samples at a cellular level with a genomic test that can help clarify whether thyroid nodules are benign or potentially dangerous. 

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Genzyme plans to use Veracyte's diagnostic capabilities alongside its own Thyrogen (thyrotropin alfa for injection). This is approved for use as an adjunctive diagnostic tool for well-differentiated thyroid cancer by testing for the hormone thyroglobulin.

It is hoped that superior diagnosis techniques will lead to a significant reduction the number of unnecessary thyroid removals, with post-surgery results suggesting that only 20 - 30 per cent of patients who have their thyroids removed have cancer.

“This partnership is a strong fit for both companies and underscores Genzyme's commitment to improving the quality of care for patients with suspected or diagnosed thyroid cancer,” said Genzyme's head of rare diseases, Dr Rogerio Vivaldi.

“Together, our products offer patients and physicians a powerful personalised medicine solution for the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid cancer, addressing an unmet need in the community and improving patient outcomes.”

It is estimated that there will be over 50,000 new cases of thyroid cancer in the US during 2012, with such a rate of incidents of the disease making it the fastest growing cancer in the country.

24th January 2012

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