Roche Diagnostics to develop new lung cancer tests

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Roche Diagnostics has announced that it will be developing new testing products which will make it easier to detect and treat lung cancer.

The company has been granted a worldwide sublicence from Genzyme to develop a diagnostic assay for detecting epidermal growth-factor receptor (EGFR) mutations among lung cancer patients.

Concurrently, it has agreed a deal with OSI Pharmaceuticals to develop a PCR-based companion diagnostic test for the drug Tarceva, which will identify people with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harbouring EGFR-activating mutations.

Daniel O'Day, head of Roche Diagnostics, said: "The aim is to provide a simple tool that will quickly identify EGFR-activating mutations and so enhance physicians' ability to customise the use of Tarceva for people with advanced NSCLC."

The EGFR mutation assay will run on Roche's cobas 4800 System, which is also used to detect conditions such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

It comes in the same week that the company launched its new cobas b 123 POC blood gas analyser, which provides faster sample analysis than previous models.

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