Genetic cancer test screening could lead to Promega expansion

Fitchburg-based Promega Corp. entered into an agreement to collaborate with the drug maker Merck to help determine through genetic, solid-tumor testing which cancer treatments might work better for individual patients. The test is specifically aimed at Keytruda, Merck’s new class of immunotherapy drug, according to a Promega release.

Such cancer fighting treatments can be expensive, costing as much as $150,000 per year, according to a story in the Wisconsin State Journal, which is why it’s important to screen people first to make sure they will benefit from treatment.

“Our test uses a sensitive and specific panel of markers for detection of MSI status and offers valuable insight to help inform physicians on how best to treat patients with cancer including those likely to benefit from immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment,” states Jeff Bacher, Ph.D., senior research scientist at Promega.

If federal approval is granted, Promega could experience significant growth in five years.