Abbott and Pfizer have joined forces to develop a molecular diagnostic test that will be used to screen non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumours for cancer-causing gene rearrangements.

The test will be based on Pfizer’s novel investigational agent that selectively targets cancer-causing genes implicated in the progress of many cancers.

Patients who are found to have this gene mutation will then be selected for clinical trials of Pfizer’s PF-02341066, which selectively targets cancer-causing genes.

Abbott will contribute to the partnership through the development of a companion diagnostic test that will determine a patient’s genetic status and will be used in patient selection for PF-02341066 trials.

Pfizer Oncology Business Unit general manager Garry Nicholson said that this test would allow the company to focus on the patient population most likely to benefit from the NSCLC candidate.

Around 6–7% of NSCLC sufferers are thought to have gene rearrangement, a figure which could account for as many as 12,000 to 14,000 people in the US alone.