Siemens Seeks Growth In Companion Diagnostics

Feb.12.12 | About: Siemens AG (SIEGY)

By Michael Fitzhugh

Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics (SI) says it is partnering with ViiV Healthcare and Tocagen to develop new companion diagnostics, clinical tests intended to help physicians match patients with the most effective medications.

Demand for safer, more effective drugs has made the companion diagnostics market one of the fastest growing parts of the in vitro diagnostics industry, worth an estimated $1.6 billion annually, according to the business information provider Visiongain.

“Siemens’ presence in the emerging companion diagnostics market enables us to leverage our innovation capabilities and deep clinical knowledge to help improve pharmaceutical drug safety and effectiveness,” says Michael Reitermann, CEO of Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics. “More so, it helps align Siemens with new classes of therapies tailored to the individual that hold the promise of improving patient care and delivering on the goal of personalized medicine.”

The electronics and electrical engineering giant says its intent is to leverage clinical trial and commercialization expertise within its Berkeley, California-based CLIA laboratory, as well as the company’s established in vitro diagnostics clinical and regulatory expertise.

Siemens’ partnership with ViiV, an HIV-specialist established by GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), will focus on developing a diagnostic to identify people who will best respond to the company’s late-stage experimental medicine Celsentri/Selzentry, a therapy for a particular type of HIV.

The partnership with Tocagen will begin with diagnostic tests to support clinical trials related to Tocagen's viral gene therapy, Toca 511 & Toca FC, under investigation for the treatment of primary brain cancer. If successful, the partners may then commercialize diagnostic tests for therapy monitoring, subject to U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.

Siemens says that the new partnerships reflect its efforts to expand the global presence of its healthcare business by leveraging the power of in vivo and in vitro diagnostics to impact therapeutics, a central goal in a two-year global initiative the company is pursuing to strengthen the competitiveness of its healthcare business.