Germantown, Md-based Qiagen Sciences (NASDAQ: QGEN) has received Food and Drug Adminstration approval to market it's therascreen EGFR testing kit in the United States.
The company which focuses on biological material sampling technology, developed therascreen to help doctors identity epidermal growth tumors in people with certain types of lung cancer. The kit was designed to work in combination with AstraZeneca's (NYSE: AZN) Iressa treatment and as a precursor for eligibility for patients with advanced or metastatic type of lung cancer (NSCLC). The cancer can spread to other parts of the body from the place of origin.
Qiagen says more than 200,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed every year in the United States
and NSCLC accounts for 85 percent of those cases that has lead to 160,000 deaths. Testing in the EGFR or epidermal growth factor receptors is said to be the largest segment in personalized medicine diagnostic tools.
"We are delighted to be partnering with QIAGEN to provide this important companion diagnostic test to guide the use of IRESSA for patients with NSCLC in the U.S. By combining AstraZeneca's expertise in lung cancer with QIAGEN's leading diagnostic technologies, we have the potential to help physicians achieve better patient outcomes in NSCLC," said Ruth March, Vice President and Head of Personalized Healthcare and Biomarkers at AstraZeneca
Gaithersburg, Md-based MedImmune is the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca and one of only three global research centers in the world for the company. AstraZeneca has been making a push for personalized medicine through MedImmune with purchases like that of another Gaithersburg-based firm, Amplimmune. The company was folded into MedImmune in 2013.