Lilly, GE to study cancer therapies

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Eli Lilly and Co. launched a three-year collaboration today with GE Global Research, the central research and development unit of New York-based General Electric Co.

The companies will develop diagnostic tools to predict patients’ response to targeted cancer therapies. Lilly is in the testing phase for compounds that would aim chemotherapy at specific cancer cells; such drugs would be tailored for small groups of patients, rather than the more general chemotherapy drugs the Indianapolis drugmaker already sells.

Under the agreement, GE will get access to clinical tissue samples from unidentified patients in Lilly’s clinical trials. Lilly will get to use GE’s technologies for automated image analysis on the two cancer drugs it is trying to develop.

Those tools could help Lilly select patients for its clinical trials, evaluate effectiveness of its development drugs, and reduce the overall cost and time of drug trials.

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