Cambridge, UK-based Horizon Discovery has expanded its relationship with Roche Diagnostics with a new agreement to assist in the development of immunohistochemistry (IHC) assays.

Under the deal, Horizon will develop and provide Reference Standard* material expressing neurotrophic tropomyosin receptor kinase (NTRK) fusion biomarkers, which, it notes, have recently come to the fore as promising targets for cancer therapy.

Already, a number of novel compounds have been developed against the fusion proteins that arise from these molecular alterations, the group noted, but also stressed that their ultimate effectiveness depends on being able to accurately determine the genotype of patients, primarily via IHC-based diagnostic testing.

Horizon says its Reference Standards will be derived from cell lines generated by its gene editing platform. Also it noted that the cells will be supplied to Roche diagnostics in FFPE (formalin-fixed paraffin embedded) format to mimick real patient samples “for better control of variability across the complete diagnostic workflow”.

“We are very pleased to announce this agreement, further strengthening our ongoing partnership with Roche, and we look forward to continuing to work alongside them as they develop additional important diagnostic assays in areas of significant need,” said Horizon’s chief Darrin M Disley commenting on the agreement.

Financial specifics of the deal were not revealed, but the firm did note that it expects the project to take around 12 months.

* A Reference Standard is a highly characterised, standardised and validated reference material, used to validate, optimise and routinely monitor the performance of an assay.