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Bayer, OrigiMed Form Companion Diagnostic Development Alliance

NEW YORK — Bayer has partnered with OrigiMed on the development of a next-generation sequencing-based companion diagnostic for the cancer drug larotrectinib (Vitrakvi) for the Chinese market, the companies said on Wednesday.

Larotrectinib is a tropomyosin receptor kinase inhibitor approved in the US and Europe for the treatment of solid tumors with neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase (NTRK) gene fusions. Bayer acquired the exclusive rights to the drug from Loxo Oncology, now an Eli Lilly subsidiary,  last year.

Under the terms of their deal, Bayer and Shanghai-based OrigiMed will develop an in vitro diagnostic for mainland China to identify cancer patients with NTRK fusions who would benefit from larotrectinib treatment. The patients may also be enrolled in clinical trials for the drug in the nation.

Additional terms were not disclosed.

About a year ago, Leverkusen, Germany-based Bayer formed a companion diagnostic development alliance with Foundation Medicine, with an initial focus on a test for use with larotrectinib.