Roche Molecular Systems and Merck Sharp & DOHME have announced a collaboration to develop a test to improve investigational therapeutic candidates by identifying cancers that harbour a dysfunctional p53 gene.

The collaboration will use Roche‘s developmental microarray-based AmpliChip p53 Test, which is designed to detect mutations in the tumour suppressor gene p53.

Roche Molecular Diagnostics president and CEO Paul Brown said that Roche designed its investigational AmpliChip p53 Test to rapidly provide clinically important information that can be used early in pharmaceutical development.

“Roche is excited to enter into this collaboration with Merck because of the potential this test has to improve cancer patient response to treatment,” Brown said.

Roche’s AmpliChip technology combines two leading-edge DNA amplification and detection technologies to screen for genetic mutations in cells.

The Roche polymerase chain reaction is used to amplify or make copies of genetic material, and Affymetrix high-density microarray technology is used to capture and scan the amplified DNA.