Ventana announces collaboration to develop companion diagnostics for ImmunoGen's targeted anticancer agents

TUCSON, Ariz., Oct. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. (Ventana), a member of the Roche Group, today announced it has entered into an agreement with ImmunoGen, Inc. to collaborate on the development of biomarker assays and a companion diagnostic immunohistochemistry (IHC) test for one or more of ImmunoGen's product candidates.   Under this agreement, the companies have created an initial test for folate receptor alpha (FRa, also known as folate receptor 1, or FOL1) that is being used in early trials of IMGN853, ImmunoGen's FRa-targeting antibody-drug conjugate (ADC). Cancers that highly express FRa include epithelial ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and types of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC).

The goal of the collaboration is to leverage Ventana's expertise in companion diagnostic development, from prototyping through regulatory approval and commercialization, to identify specific patient populations for ImmunoGen's bio-target directed therapies.

"Companion diagnostic tests play a central role in delivering on the promise of personalized healthcare," said Doug Ward, Vice President, Ventana Companion Diagnostics. "We're very pleased that this agreement with ImmunoGen should further expand our menu of companion diagnostic test offerings for our pharma and biotech collaborators to benefit patients."

"Our antibody-drug conjugate experimental therapies are designed to hone in on specific targets found on patients' cancer cells," commented Dr. Charles Morris, EVP and Chief Development Officer, ImmunoGen, Inc. "Companion diagnostics can play an important role in ensuring the patients receiving our agents are ones with the targets and thus the patients most likely to benefit from the treatment. Having this collaboration with Ventana in place now helps us make sure the right patients are receiving IMGN853 during its development."

This pharma collaboration is one of dozens currently underway where the Ventana Companion Diagnostics team is delivering patient stratifying diagnostic tools that help identify those individuals who are most likely to benefit from specific treatments. In addition to ImmunoGen, Ventana has announced collaborations with Bayer, Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Takeda's Millennium unit, Genmab, Incyte, MedImmune and more. Since 2002, the company has worked with more than 45 biopharmaceutical partners and is currently engaged in more than 180 collaborative projects to develop and commercialize companion diagnostics globally.

About Ventana Medical Systems, Inc.

Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. ("VMSI") (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), a member of the Roche Group, innovates and manufactures instruments and reagents that automate tissue processing and slide staining for cancer diagnostics. VENTANA products are used in clinical histology and drug development research laboratories worldwide. The company's intuitive, integrated staining, workflow management platforms, and digital pathology solutions optimize laboratory efficiencies to help reduce errors, support diagnosis and enable informed treatment decisions by anatomic pathology professionals. Together with Roche, VMSI is driving Personalized Healthcare through accelerated drug discovery and the development of companion diagnostics to identify the patients most likely to respond favorably to specific therapies.

Visit www.ventana.com to learn more.

VENTANA and the VENTANA logo are trademarks of Roche.

VMSI Media Relations
Jacqueline Bucher
Senior Director, Corporate Communications
Phone: 520-877-7288
e-mail: Jacquie Bucher

SOURCE Ventana Medical Systems, Inc.

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