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Apr 14, 2016

Leica Biosystems and Merrimack Pharmaceuticals has announced a strategic partnership for developing companion diagnostic assays for identifying patients who might best respond to current and future oncology therapies developed by Merrimack. These assays will be designed using Advanced Cell Diagnostics’ (ACD’s) RNAscope technology and will be processed on the BOND clinical advanced staining systems of Leica Biosystems.

The initial focus of this partnership will be developing a companion diagnostic assay for Merrimack’s seribantumab, or MM-121, an investigational therapy. This Seribantumab is a fully human, monoclonal antibody that targets ErbB3, a cell surface receptor that is activated by the ligand heregulin (HRG). This ErbB3 signaling identifies a unique, more difficult to treat cancer phenotype characterized by increased tumor growth and increased resistance to targeted, anti-endocrine, and cytotoxic therapies. Seribantumab is being investigated primarily in combination settings for blocking HRG activated ErbB3 signaling so that the anti-tumor effect of the combination therapy partner can be enhanced.

“We are pleased to be working with Merrimack on cancer therapies with the BOND platform. The partnership utilizing RNAscope technology is an example of Leica Biosystems paving the way for in situ RNA detection in personalized medicine.  The ease of use and high quality staining delivered by BOND systems makes them ideal platforms on which to deploy these very informative tests,” said Matthias Weber MD, President of Leica Biosystems.

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