Ariad (ARIA $7.24 up 4.3%) continues to roll on today on heavy volume up 17% over 5 days on speculation, news and upgrades with strong expectations for their chronic myeloid leukemia drug ponatinib. Articles from Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha and The have spotlighted the  Company and potential news at the ASCO Meeting which is still months away on June 3.

Today Ariad announced an exclusive collaboration with privately held MolecularMD in which MolecularMD will develop and commercialize a companion diagnostic test for the T3151 BCR-ABL mutation in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).MolecularMD will finalize its sequencing test and file the PMA at approximately the same time as Ariad files its NDA for ponatinib in 2012. Ariad will pay for predefined expenses and reimburse Molecular MD for milestones.

MolecularMD located in Portland,OR,develops and commercializes molecular Dx tests for oncology applications. Their mission is to improve cancer survival by providing pharmacogenomic tests for targeted cancer therapy. The technology platform is PCR and sequencing with the following targets: BCR-ABL,KIT,BRAF and KRAS.The Company is owned by biocatalyst and Ballast Point Ventures.

Although a companion diagnostic test is not needed for broader use of ponatinib the future trend in oncology is targeted therapy where a diagnostic is used to identify patients and monitor therapy.(see previous articles on this topic under “Biomarkers”)

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