Two Collaborations: LabCorp-Thermo Fisher, Roche-Illumina

In  deals  related  to  the  pursuit of companion diagnostics, two lab companies announced collaboration deals with companies that manufacture gene-sequencing equipment. The deals were announced on consecutive days earlier this month. Financial terms were not disclosed.

On Jan. 13, Roche said it formed a 15-year, non-exclusive partnership with Illumina to improve access to next-generation sequencing for clinical oncologists.

The next day on Jan. 14, Laboratory Corporation of America said it would adopt Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Ion Torrent Genexus System and its Oncomine Precision Assay for research and development of companion diagnostics and applications for oncology and precision medicine. To adopt these technologies, LabCorp will leverage  its  participation in Thermo Fisher’s Next-Generation Sequencing Companion Dx Center of Excellence Program.

About its deal with Illumina, Roche said the collaboration will help Roche build on its strategy to accelerate clinical research, streamline workflow, and expand test menus. In addition, the deal expands the reach of the work Foundation Medicine (a division of Roche) does to help patients get optimal cancer therapy through Foundation Medicine’s data and clinical decision support tools, the companies said.

Under the agreement, Illumina will grant Roche the right to develop and distribute in vitro diagnostic tests on Illumina’s NextSeq 550Dx System and on other diagnostic sequencing systems that Illumina will launch in the future.

For companion diagnostics (CDx), both companies will develop and pursue CDx tests for Roche’s existing cancer therapies, as well as new therapies in the pipeline, Illumina will lead the development and regulatory approval processes and Roche will support that development and regulatory filings, the companies said.

Campanion Diagnostics Deal

Companion diagnostics also were a key to LabCorp’s partnership with Thermo Fisher.

In its announcement of its  partnership with Thermo  Fisher,  LabCorp  said it will use the next-generation  sequencing Genexus System and the Oncomine Precision Assay immediately for cancer research and to develop new tests.

Also, LabCorp will seek to find new applications for both the Genexus System and the assay. Currently, both assay and the Genexus System are used for research purposes only.

In the announcement, the companies described the Genexus System as the first fully-integrated NGS platform to deliver results in a single day. Using this NGS platform, labs can process small batches of samples for economical sequencing, the companies said.

LabCorp also said it expects the Genexus System to help LabCorp speed up access to NGS testing for clinical trials in LabCorp’s specialty and drug development central laboratories. “If  cleared or approved for diagnostic use, the system could be made available to smaller LabCorp laboratories, in addition to hospitals, and other LabCorp customers,” LabCorp added.


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