Abbott will extend its current agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to develop an additional companion diagnostic test to support GSK's cancer immunotherapy research program.

As part of the expanded agreement, Abbott will develop a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test which will be use with the Abbott m2000rt instrument to screen non-small cell lung cancer tumors for the expression of the PRAME antigen.

Abbott’s molecular diagnostics business head Stafford O’Kelly said the expanded collaboration, along with Abbott’s other recently announced partnerships in oncology, demonstrates the continued commitment Abbott is making to assess biomarkers linked to immunotherapies in various cancers.

"This agreement is a testament to the scientific advances Abbott and the industry is making in personalized medicine and companion diagnostics, which are helping ensure the right medicines get to the right cancer patients," O’Kelly added.

Designed to identify specific DNA sequences, companion diagnostic tests will help doctors to determine which patients are likely to profit from a particular therapy.

The existing agreements between the two companies aimed at the development of PCR tests to screen non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma tumors for expression of the MAGE-A3 antigen.