Pharmaceutical, Technology Collaboration to Improve Cancer Treatments

Celgene and Agios will collaborate with a technology company to improve diagnostics for patients with acute myeloid leukemia.

Celgene Corporation and Agios Pharmaceuticals recently announced collaboration agreements with Abbott to develop diagnostic tests that work with a diagnostic tool to advance cancer treatment.

Abbott’s m200 RealTime System is a polymerase chain reaction device that allows laboratories to automate reaction and results analysis, according to a press release from Celgene. The instrument is able to simplify the complex process of molecular diagnostics, and could prove to be important for patients with acute myeloid leukemia.

Both pharmaceutical companies have entered into the agreement to create tests to identify isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutations in patients with this type of leukemia.

Celgene is developing the drug enasidenib (AG-221/CC-90007), an inhibitor of the IDH2 mutation, to treat patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia with this mutation. Agios is developing AG-120, which inhibits the IDH1 mutation, for patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia with this mutation.

These mutations occur in approximately 20% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia, and better understanding of the mutation has led to more advanced treatments. A recent study suggested that IDH mutational analysis should be routine in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) at diagnosis and at relapse, Celgene reported.

“AML is a complex and heterogeneous disease, making it difficult to treat,” said Han Myint, MD, Vice president, Global Medical Affairs, Myeloid for Celgene. “IDH mutations lead to aberrant DNA methylation, causing a block in myeloid differentiation that leads to disease progression. Molecular profiling is important to identify genomic mutations which may have prognostic and potential treatment implications for patients with AML.”

Celgene and Agios have both used IDH mutation screening into their clinical trial designs of their investigational drugs. Celgene recently started the phase 3 IDHENTIFY trial the compares enasidenib with a current treatment in patients with an IDH2 mutation and relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia, according to the press release.

Currently, the m2000 system has not received FDA approval for the use with enasidenib or AG-120. Neither drug has received approval for use in any country.

“The field of personalized medicine is advancing at a rapid pace for a broad range of medical conditions, especially within hematology-oncology,” said Chris Bowden, MD, chief medical officer at Agios. “Our collaboration with Abbott will provide a test to help identify AML patients with IDH mutations who are in need of treatment options.”