Lilly to expand partnership with diagnostic firm

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Diagnostic products maker Qiagen NV said Wednesday that it will work with Eli Lilly and Co. to develop new tests that could identify patients who could be helped by Lilly's drugs.

The companies did not disclose terms of the new collaboration, but described it as a "broad" partnership that will cover "all therapeutic areas."

Qiagen, based in the Netherlands, will develop so-called companion diagnostic tests, which are designed to help doctors decide how to treat patients by showing which treatments they might respond to. Qiagen said the tests will involve drugs that are already approved as well as newer experimental products.

In 2010, Lilly launched a diagnostics division to produce tests that can winnow out the patients most likely to benefit from a Lilly drug.

In September 2011, Qiagen started working with Lilly on a test designed to identify patients who might be helped by an experimental blood cancer drug. In July 2012, the Food and Drug Administration approved a genetic test Qiagen developed that is designed to help doctors more quickly determine which late-stage colon cancer patients will respond to the drug Erbitux and which won't benefit from the treatment. Erbitux is marketed by Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

In January, Lilly partnered with a unit of Agilent Technologies Inc. to develop a test that can identify cancer patients who could benefit from an experimental cancer drug that Lilly is developing.

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