Celera ( CRA), a molecular diagnostics unit of Applera ( ABI), will collaborate with Merck ( MRK) to develop companion tests for cancer therapies.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to the agreement, Celera will evaluate the use of gene expression profiles after which the companies plan to use the diagnostic predictors in Merck's clinical trials to establish commercial companion tests for oncology therapies.

Merck will pay Celera an undisclosed amount for the collaboration, which the companies said they expect to be completed by the end of Celera's fiscal 2008. Also, if Merck transfers one of the gene expression profiles that Celera validated to a clinical reference laboratory, Celera is eligible for an additional payment.

Celera shares edged up 11 cents, or 0.8%, to $13.27, and Merck was down 40 cents, or 0.8%, at $49.14. Applera was 24 cents, or 0.7%, higher at $33.24.

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