Bio­phar­ma ri­vals at Roche and Bay­er both stand to ben­e­fit from the trend to­ward in­creased test­ing of can­cer pa­tients

Loxo On­col­o­gy has been one of the pi­o­neers in the move to de­vel­op new, tis­sue-ag­nos­tic can­cer drugs. But the biggest chal­lenge it faces won’t be in the clin­ic. In­stead an­a­lysts will be try­ing to de­ter­mine the ex­tent to which fair­ly ex­pen­sive di­ag­nos­tic test­ing will be used to spot­light their tiny pa­tient pop­u­la­tion. 

Bloomberg took a look at the is­sue in an in-depth re­port to­day, com­par­ing the work that Loxo’s part­ner Bay­er will have in pop­u­lar­iz­ing these tests, which can cost thou­sands of dol­lars each, screen­ing broad groups to find the one in 100 that need their drug. Roche, mean­while, which has been a huge ad­vo­cate of match­ing di­ag­nos­tics to drugs, just spent $2.4 bil­lion to ac­quire the last chunk of stock in the can­cer di­ag­nos­tics play­er Foun­da­tion Med­i­cine it didn’t al­ready own. 

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