Siemens Healthineers (ETR:SHL)  and Novartis (NYSE:NVS) have agreed to jointly design, develop and commercialize diagnostic tests for therapeutic products across Novartis’ therapeutic pipeline, the companies announced today.

The first project will be a serum neurofilament light chain (NfL) immunoassay for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological diseases.

NfL is a highly specific biomarker for nerve cell injury measured in cerebral spinal fluid and blood. Blood NfL levels have been reported to change in a variety of serious neurological conditions, including MS, according to a 2018 study published in Nature.

This collaboration will use Siemens Healthineers’ expertise in the development of clinical diagnostic tests that can run on its ADVIA Centaur and Atellica immunoassay platforms, designed for use in hospitals, reference laboratories, and specialty laboratories. Siemens Healthineers will also be global distributor of the immunoassay platforms.

“We are looking forward to our collaboration with Novartis as it promises to yield innovative diagnostic solutions to address critical unmet clinical needs,” said Deepak Nath, president of laboratory diagnostics for Siemens Healthineers, in a news release. “Our initial focus on blood-based diagnostic solutions for MS patients is another example of Siemens Healthineers commitment to shape the future of precision medicine.”

Serum NfL would expand Siemens Healthineers’ laboratory diagnostics neurology test menu, which also targets AB42 and Tau assays for the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. The Siemens Healthineers AB42 and Tau assays were recently granted FDA Breakthrough Device Designation for expedited reviews.

On September 15, Siemens announced a collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Europe’s Joint Research Centre on a project to standardize COVID-19 assays.