AstraZeneca is fuelling its drive for personalised medicine with a duo of deals expanding its work across diabetes, cardiovascular disease and asthma fields.

The drugs giant has formed a pact with the Montreal Heart Institute under which the latter will genotype up to 80,000 DNA samples from AZ’ biobank, seeking genes linked with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, their complications and treatment outcomes.

The groups say the knowledge gained from genotyping the samples - in one of the largest such screens to date - will drive understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying these conditions and their complications, and feed the development of new medicines tailored to treat subsets of patients with particular genetic profiles.

Asthma diagnostic

Meanwhile, AZ has also inked a deal with Abbott to develop companion diagnostic tests to identify patients with severe asthma who are most likely to benefit from the investigational biologic tralokinumab. 

Under the collaboration, Abbott will develop and commercialise tests that measure serum levels of the proteins periostin and DPP4, which have been identified as potential predictive biomarkers of up-regulated IL-13 in severe asthma. 

The tests will be developed in conjunction with AZ’ Phase III trial of tralokinumab, a potential treatment for patients with severe, inadequately controlled asthma, developed by the company’s biologics research and development arm, MedImmune. 

To date, no companion diagnostic blood tests have been approved for use in asthma.