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Abbott - Epizyme Collaborate

Zacks Equity Research

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) recently announced a strategic deal with Epizyme, Inc. for the development of a molecular companion diagnostic test for use with EPZ-5676.

EPZ-5676 is being developed by Epizyme for the treatment of mixed lineage leukemia (MLL-r).

Under this deal, Abbott Labs will use its fluorescence in situhybridization (:FISH) technology to develop the test. It will help in identifying patients eligible for treatment with Epizyme’s EPZ-5676. Financial details of the deal were not provided.

In Feb 2013, Abbott Labs collaborated with Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) Janssen Biotech, Inc. and Pharmacyclics, Inc. (PCYC) to use Abbott Labs’ proprietary FISH technology for developing a molecular companion diagnostic test that will help identify patients with a genetic subtype of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (:CLL).

The FISH-based test will be used for the identification of high-risk CLL patients who are more likely to respond to ibrutinib. Ibrutinib is being developed for several B-cell malignancies including chronic leukemia and lymphoma. Pharmacyclics expects to file a New Drug Application (:NDA) with the US Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) for the use of ibrutinib in patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma (:MCL) before the end of 2013.

We note that Abbott Labs separated its business into two publicly-traded companies on Jan 1, 2013 – one in diversified medical products and the other in research-based pharmaceuticals.

Abbott Labs is extremely diversified with attractive nutrition and diagnostics businesses. AbbottLabs carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right now, NuVasive, Inc. (NUVA) looks more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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