Abbot, Janssen and Pharmacyclics team up for leukemia treatment

Abbott Laboratories recently announced plans to collaborate with Janssen Biotech, Inc., and Pharmacyclics, Inc., on a project using its proprietary fluorescence in situ hybridization technology.

Abbot intends FISH to be used in the development of a molecular diagnostic test to aid in the identification of patients with a genetic subtype of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. CLL is considered to be the most common form of adult leukemia.

Under the terms of the contract, Abbot will develop a FISH-based test to identify patients at high risk for developing CLL who also have a deletion in a chromosome that may respond to ibrutinib, an oral BTK inhibitor currently under development by Janssen and Pharmacyclics. Abbot said that being able to identify patients with the deletion will meet the needs of a number of patients with limited treatment options.

"Like Abbott's other collaborations in the area of companion diagnostics, our goal is to leverage molecular technologies to help ensure that the right medicine is getting to the right person," John Coulter, a vice president at Abbot, said. "Cancer is a complex disease where, historically, therapies have demonstrated only a 25 percent efficacy rate. Companion diagnostic tests can help improve these outcomes by selecting patients that are more likely to respond to specific therapies, reducing time to the most effective treatment and increasing the number of positive outcomes."