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GE, Eli Lilly To Collaborate In Vitro Diagnostics For Cancer Treatment

GE Global, Research, the General Electric Company’s centralized research and development organization, and GE Healthcare have entered into a three-year collaborative research agreement with Eli Lilly and Company to discover and develop advances in vitro predict cancer treatment response to targeted therapies.

In addition to Lilly’s existing chemotherapy agents, Lilly is developing targeted cancer therapeutics, which is now in both early and late stage clinical development. GE is developing advanced multiplexed tissue-based assays and image analysis tools that can measure multiple biological pathways. The goal of this collaboration is to discover key protein and gene signatures that will predict the likelihood that a medication will be effective in treating certain cancers. Once identified, the signatures can then be used to pre-select patients who are good candidates for the targeted therapy.

“The co-development of diagnostics and therapeutics is a major strategy of GE Healthcare’s “Early Health” vision, and our collaboration with Lilly and expansion into in vitro diagnostics is right inline with this strategy, “ said, Dr. Michael Montalto, head, Molecular Imaging and Diagnostics Advanced Technologies for Global Research. “The combination of diagnostics and therapeutics is opening new doors in the fight against cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Through the application of molecular and cell biology to understanding disease, we can provide pharmaceutical companies with more advanced tools to develop more optimal drug therapies for cancer patients.”

“Our collaboration with GE complements Lilly’s research and development strategy of tailored therapeutics to find the right dose of the right medication at the right time for patients. Through our collaboration with GE Healthcare and GE Global Research, we hope to identify biomarkers for two of our targeted cancer therapeutics agents by examining patient tissue us in order to determine which patients are most likely to respond to the medications and just as importantly which are not,” said Dr. Richard Gaynor, MD, vice president, cancer research and global oncology platform for Eli Lilly and Company.

The agreement between GE and Lilly will provide GE with access to clinical trials. In turn, Lilly will have access to GE’s advanced technologies in automated tissue-based image analysis and molecular reagents. These tools can be used during drug development to aid Lilly in evaluating the effectiveness of their drug candidates and potentially select patients for future trials.

In addition to helping Lilly identify patients for future trials, the diagnostics tools GE is providing also have the potential to greatly reduce the time and cost of cancer drug development.

The collaboration with Lilly is consistent with GE Healthcare’s Early Health Vision, which is about transforming healthcare delivery from a focus on treating lat disease to a focus on adopting an Early Health model of care, where prevention, pre-disease detection, and early diagnosis are the key drivers.

GE Healthcare has a strong portfolio of in vivo diagnostic imaging technologies and molecular contrast agents to assist with the detection and diagnosis of cancer, and expanding this strength toward in vitro diagnostics is a natural extension of this strategy.

(Ref: The Chronicle Pharmabiz dated October 11, 2007)

Metropolis To Start Operations In US, Thailand With Investment In JV, Acquisition

The Mumbai based leading diagnostic chain, Metropolis, is expanding its international operations into the US and Thailand markets. The company is investing Rs 5 crore in a joint venture in the US and Rs 10 crore for an acquisition in Thailand. Metropolis expected to start it's business operations in these countries by mid of November 2007.

In India, the company has plans to set up five more new centres across the country. Metropolis currently provides various services to its customers such as clinical laboratory medicine, radiology and imaging services, hospital management, central laboratory services for clinical trials, site management services, home health services, preventive health check ups and remote pathology testing services.

Metropolis has received accreditation from ISO, NABL, CAP (college of American pathologiests) and registration for CLIA, USA, reiterate that meet stringent national and international quality requirements - imperative in a vital service sector like healthcare.

National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accreditation is formal recognition of the technical competence of a testing or calibration laboratory for a specific task, which is based on third party assessment. NABL accredited laboratories emerge as a member of global family of accredited laboratories. Its six labs have received NABL accreditation and three more are expected to get soon.

Speaking to Pharmabiz, Ameera Patel, executive  director, said "We are on continuous expansion mode and are entering the US market through joint venture with the initial investment of Rs 5 crore. Simultaneously, in the Thailand market, we are going for an acquisition with a majority stake. Our both deals are progressive well and should be completed by the mid of November 2007. In the month of October we have commenced our South Asian operation. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with European company for the advanced radiology service."

The company is engaged in various activities like pathology testing services, preventive healthcare, clinical trials, public-private partnerships, hospital laboratory management and home health services. "We are investing close to Rs 10 crore for setting up our own lab at Johannesburg by the mid of 2008" Patel added.

(Ref: The Hospital Equipment & Solutions dated November 2007)


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