Halozyme Therapeutics has signed an agreement with Roche Group member Ventana Medical Systems to develop a companion diagnostic assay for cancer treatment.


Under the deal, the companies will develop and commercialize companion diagnostic assay for use with Halozyme’s investigational new drug, PEGPH20.

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Halozyme Therapeutics president and CEO Dr Helen Torley said: "Ventana brings a high level of development, regulatory and commercial expertise to our companion diagnostic strategy, which will help ensure we are well prepared for the initiation of our phase 3 study in pancreatic cancer."

The companies will use the new assay to identify high levels of hyaluronan (HA), which is a glycosaminoglycan.

Ventana will involve in the development of an in vitro diagnostic (IVD) under design control, using Halozyme’s proprietary HA binding protein, with plans to submit it for regulatory approval in the US, Europe and other countries.

Halozyme plans to commence a global phase III clinical study in 2016 targeting metastatic pancreatic cancer patients with high HA levels using its PEGPH20 in combination with Abraxane (nab-paclitaxel) and gemcitabine.

Ventana Companion Diagnostics vice-president Doug Ward said: "We are pleased to enter into this master collaboration agreement with Halozyme, which may produce the first diagnostic to target tumor-associated HA and possibly the first companion diagnostic assay in pancreatic cancer."

Image: Hyaluronic Acid expressed in pancreatic cancer tissue at 40x magnification. Photo: courtesy of Ventana Medical Systems, Inc.