Thermo Fisher Scientific forms long-term partnership with Novartis and Pfizer to develop non-small cell cancer test to serve as companion diagnostic across drug development.

Increasingly pharmaceutical companies are favouring the development of targeted therapies over ‘one-size-fits-all’ drugs. Oncology is increasingly driving the development of precision medicine, as increasingly detailed patient genetic knowledge can allow the use of specific and potentially more effective drug candidates. This week Thermo Fisher Scientific have announced a partnership with pharma giants Novartis and Pfizer to further develop a practical method for matching patients with the best treatments. 

“The potential to generate a paradigm shift through this agreement – from one test for one drug, to one test for multiple non small cell lung cancer therapies, represents a significant step forward in realizing the promise of precision medicine,” said Mark Stevenson, president of life sciences solutions for Thermo Fisher Scientific. “We look forward to building upon our ongoing collaboration with Novartis and Pfizer to lead the efforts in building potential novel NGS testing approaches to advance the future of cancer care.”

The NGS-based companion diagnostic will employ Thermo Fisher’s Ion PGM Dx System and Oncomine assays, which enable simultaneous sequencing of hundreds of genes. In the first instance the test will focus on non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

“We believe that this collaboration will help us get closer to our goal of ensuring that cancer patients are able to benefit from a targeted therapy associated with their tumor’s genetic profile,” said Hakan Sakul, Ph.D., executive director and head of diagnostics, worldwide R&D, Pfizer. “The Thermo Fisher Scientific NGS panel is aligned with a number of our clinical development programs, providing us with an opportunity to accelerate the development for each of these potential new therapies for NSCLC patients with targetable genetic alterations.”

“We look forward to this collaboration and the future potential of this technology to further enhance the ability to connect patients to the right clinical trials and treatments for them, even those patients with less common tumor mutation types,” said Alessandro Riva, MD, global head oncology development and medical affairs, Novartis Oncology. “It is our hope that we will be able to take advantage of this new technology as part of our growing lung cancer portfolio to offer even better outcomes for patients.”