Clinical Guardant and Merck KGaA collaborate for cancer solution

Guardant and Merck KGaA collaborate for cancer solution


In order to strengthen the development of precision oncology treatments, Guardant Health has partnered with Merck KGaA. The two companies have a history of a partnership, extending back to 2017, for the purpose of developing a liquid biopsy panel which would help in examining close to 500 genes.

As part of the partnership, the businesses will enhance efforts to expand Merck’s precision cancer pipeline by utilising the GuardantINFORM real-world evidence (RWE) platform.

The partnership will mainly focus on creating treatments for significant unmet medical needs in several cancers using the data gathered and provided by Guardant.

As per the recent agreement, Merck will work with Guardant’s data scientists on a variety of treatment development initiatives that make use of the genomes and clinical data accessible through the GuardantINFORM platform.

According to Guardant Health chairman and co-CEO Helmy Eltoukhy  “Expanding our partnership with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, gives a great opportunity to strengthen the development of their pipeline of potentially game-changing cancer treatments which will be a revolutionary step.”

He further added that the company is looking forward to working with Merck and stated “We are eager to see how the evidence platform can be managed and utilized to speed up the delivery of urgently required cancer medicines to patients”

The process of creating a new cancer treatment drug from scratch is an extremely difficult and time-consuming task, with drugmakers often taking years to create just one candidate that may or may not ever receive approval.

Guardant has started building a database of the results of its liquid biopsy tests as demand for them has increased. The outcome is GuardantInform, a sizable and searchable database of clinical as well as genetic data from cancer patients that the company is lending to its pharma partners to support the process of drug discovery and development.

Merck KGaA will specifically focus on those forms of cancer which need treatment solutions with the help of the database provided by Guardant.

The liquid biopsy results are included in the dataset. The test requires a routine blood draw and provides results in just over a week. It has been approved as a partner diagnostic to assist in the profiling of solid tumors found throughout the body.

Guardants database comprises findings of 225000 people who have been diagnosed with solid tumor cancers in different parts of the body such as prostate, colon, breast, lungs, etc.

The real-data set, which was unveiled in 2020, is intended to be used by biopharmaceutical developers in three key ways: 

Assessing the results of patients using the latest therapies once they have proven successful in the market.

Designing extremely focused clinical trials to test those drugs.

Identifying specific cancer key factors that can be treated with the new drugs.

Later that year, the resulting GuardantOmni test was launched for research purposes only. It was primarily created for Guardant’s pharmaceutical partners to use in order to accelerate the discovery of new cancer treatments, increase clinical trial recruitment, and track patient recovery through taking the new medications.

The Guardant360 test was able to perform genomic testing during the duration of Merck KGaA’s clinical study of tepotinib which was primarily used to treat metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. With the help of the experimental device exemption, the medicine has received regulatory approval and is now marketed as Tepmetko.

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