Illumina targets cancer diagnostics


Genetic sequencing heavyweight Illumina has partnered with three major pharmaceutical firms in a bid to develop a universal sequencing-based oncology test system. The idea is to develop sequencing diagnostics to go alongside cancer therapies being developed by AstraZeneca, Janssen Biotech and Sanofi.

Because tumours’ susceptibility to certain drugs often depends on whether they carry mutations in one or more of around 125 cancer-related genes, identifying the right patients can make treating cancers more successful, and mean the difference between success and failure in clinical trials. As a result, more and more drugs are being approved only in conjunction with a companion diagnostic test.

But most of these tests so far rely on biomarkers, or partial gene sequencing. The price of sequencing is dropping rapidly, and Illumina intends to develop tests that involve sequencing panels of whole genes, rather than searching individually for specific variants. The firm is aiming to take advantage of the fact that it currently sells the only ‘next-generation’ sequencer that is approved for clinical use to establish a dominant position in a nascent sequencing market. 


Related Content

Illumina fends off Roche hostile bid

27 January 2012 News Archive

news image

Roche aims to expand personalised medicine diagnostics by acquiring the gene sequencing leader

Pharma queues up for checkpoint inhibitor collaborations

3 July 2015 Business

news image

Combinations of different firms’ drugs seek to reap immuno-oncology’s benefits

Most Read

First pictures of hydrogen bonds unveiled

26 September 2013 Research

news image

Observation of intermolecular interactions in quinolines could help to settle the nature of this kind of bonding

Copper catalysis overcomes double bond trouble

3 July 2015 Research

news image

Stubbornly stable unactivated internal alkenes become chiral tertiary amine precursors

Most Commented

Collaboration, not competition

29 June 2015 Research

news image

Organic chemist E J Corey talks to Phillip Broadwith about awards, ambition and academic freedom

Z machine puts the squeeze on metallic deuterium

25 June 2015 Research

news image

Pressures similar to those at centre of the Earth forge metallic deuterium in step toward 80-year-old dream of creating metal...