RBM wins Roche schizophrenia bioassay contract

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Breast cancer, Roche

Swiss drug major Roche has called in biomarker testing lab Rules-Based Medicine (RBM) to help give its candidate schizophrenia drugs a commercial edge.

Under the deal, RBM will use its DiscoveryMap platform and biomarkers owned by its Psynova Neurotech subsidiary to identify proteins that can be used to predict the efficacy and safety of drugs in Roche’s schizophrenia pipeline.

As part of this work Psynova will use its proprietary schizophrenia biomarker panels to develop diagnostic assays which will be commercialised for future trials by the firm itself, RBM or Roche.

Sabine Bahn, Psynova CSO, said the deal “is part of an ongoing strategy to leverage the value of our biomarker portfolio in both the development of novel diagnostic aids for physicians and the accelerated development and delivery of novel therapeutics.​"

Demand for contract biomarker analysis has grown markedly in recent years as, increasingly, the technique has been recognised as a way of identifying the most promising drug candidates, earlier in the development process.

In response to this trend, a growing number of contract research organisations (CRO) have begun either boosting internal capacity or extending their biomarker offerings by forming partnerships with specialist laboratories.

For example, in the last few months both Aushon BioSystems​ and Pacific Biometrics​ have both taken steps to bolster their respective offerings with additional laboratory capacity and investment funding.

Prior to that Clinical Reference Laboratory (CRL) set up an analysis laboratory in collaboration with UK CRO​ Quotient Bioresearch, while Millipore​ expanded its European biomarker operations through the acquisition of BioAnaLab.

Immunoassays

The use of diagnostic immunoassays is also increasing with the emergence of a more personalised approch to medicines

Roche’s cancer drug Herceptin (trastuzumab) is an appropriate example of the application of immunoassays. The drug is effective in breast cancers in which a specific receptor protein, HER2 is over expressed

However, because such over expression only happens in 20 to 30 per cent of all breast cancers assays are used to identify those patients in whom Herceptin will be effective.

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