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Siemens takes major step into companion diagnostics with pharma tie-ups

Will partner with Pfizer – GSK joint venture ViiV Healthcare and Tocagen

Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics has teamed up with ViiV Healthcare and Tocagen to develop novel diagnostic tests targeting HIV and brain cancer.

The company said the partnerships marked a “major step” into an important and fast-growing segment of the in vitro diagnostics market.

CEO Michael Reitermann said the deals would help “align Siemens with new classes of therapies tailored to the individual that hold the promise of improving patient care and delivering on the goal of personalised medicine".

Siemens' partnership with Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline's HIV-focused joint venture ViiV Healthcare will focus on clinical trials related to its first-in-class CCR5 co-receptor antagonist Celsentri (maraviroc).

The tie-up will also look at the potential commercialisation of a diagnostics test to assist in patient selection prior to physician treatment decisions.

ViiV's Celsentri was licensed in 2007 in Europe and in the US, where it is marketed as Selzentry, as a treatment for CCR5-tropic HIV.

It is currently in the phase III MODERN study (Maraviroc Once daily with Darunavir Enhanced by Ritonavir in a Novel regimen). The trial puts the two-drug combination head-to-head with the three-drug combination of Gilead's Truvada (emtricitabine and tenofovir) and darunavir/ritonavir.

Siemens' partnership with Tocagen will begin with diagnostic tests to support clinical trials for the San Diego, US-based biopharmaceutical company's viral gene therapy.

Injectable Toca 511 (vocimagene amiretrorepvec) and Toca FC (flucytosine) extended-release tablets are being studied for the treatment of primary brain cancer.

Both partnerships will use Siemens' clinical trial and commercialisation services, as well as its established in vitro diagnostics (IVD) clinical and regulatory capabilities.

Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics already claims a leadership position in the IVD sector and the firm is keen to use this background to expand its global healthcare presence in the $1.5bn companion diagnostics market.

8th February 2012

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