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Mature adult doctor talking to his patient at the doctor's office.

Illumina and Burning Rock said today they will collaborate to develop new clinical molecular diagnostics aimed at cancer. The value of the partnership was not disclosed.

Under the collaboration, Burning Rock will develop advanced clinical applications for molecular diagnostics in oncology based on Illumina's next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology. Specifically, the companies said they will work together to develop a user-friendly, oncology molecular diagnostic kit for the Chinese market.

Burning Rock agreed to provide its nucleic acid extraction, library preparation, and data analysis software, while Illumina agreed to provide NGS instrument components and related reagents, the companies said.

The deal reflects Illumina’s increased focus in recent quarters on both clinical uses for its technologies, as well as expansion in China.

On the company’s quarterly earnings conference call July 21, Illumina CEO Jay Flatley told analysts: “We haven't seen any real changes in the Chinese market over the last couple of quarters,” despite the country’s economic slowdown, according to a transcript published by Seeking Alpha—though he added: “The research funding was better in the Chinese market, maybe, 18 months ago than it has been over the past year.”

“Cooperation between our two companies will provide additional high-quality molecular diagnostic solutions in the clinical field of oncology,” Yusheng Han, founder and CEO of Burning Rock, said in a statement. “Oncology molecular diagnosis based on NGS, including non-invasive testing, is being applied in the clinic and we hope to promote it as a standard practice in hospitals.”

Headquartered in Guangzhou, China, Burning Rock offers research and commercialized clinical laboratory services mainly through bioinformatics on NGS platforms. The company’s molecular and pathological examination platform includes NGS as well as qPCR, IHC, FISH and digital pathology technologies.

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