fizer has linked up with fellow major Abbott Laboratories to develop a diagnostic test to select suitable patients for one of the former’s investigational lung cancer drugs.

Abbott Molecular will develop the test to screen non-small cell lung cancer tumours for the presence of gene rearrangements. The diagnostic will determine a patient's genetic status and the results would be used to select people for future clinical trials of PF-02341066, an early-stage oral therapy.

To be eligible to receive the drug, the companies noted that a particular genetic translocation or rearrangement known to be found in NSCLC tumours, but not in normal cells, must be present. It is thought that around 6%-7% of NSCLC patients have the rearrangement and would fit the bill for the trials.

Stafford O’Kelly, head of Abbott Molecular, said that Pfizer's compound "appears to be ideally suited to individualised therapy." The deal comes six weeks after Abbott signed a deal with GlaxoSmithKline to develop a companion test that will focus on an antigen,MAGE-A3, and will screen for NSCLC tumors.

Financial terms of the pact were not disclosed.