Clinical laboratory and drug development services company LabCorp said today that it will use Thermo Fisher Scientific’s new Ion Torrent Genexus System with the Oncomine Precision assay for the development of companion diagnostics and other oncology and precision medicine applications in the future. As part of the deal, LabCorp will also evaluate the new system and molecular test to used across its broad network of laboratories.
“This (Genexus) streamlined platform, with fast turnaround time and automated workflow, has the potential to bring the power of next-generation sequencing to a broader range of settings and to stimulate significant advances in the future for the diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of cancers,” said Marcia Eisenberg, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of LabCorp Diagnostics, in a press release.
Thermo Fisher launched Genexus in late fall at the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) annual meeting, targeting clinical labs and mid-sized and smaller hospital labs with a platform that requires minimal tissue samples and the ability to run small batches with the promise of delivering a report within one day. According to Thermo Fisher, the new platform solves two major hurdles faced by smaller labs and hospitals in adopting NGS testing: return of results that can often take weeks when using an outside testing lab, and stringent sample requirements that often lead to quantity not sufficient (QNS) reports, meaning results are inconclusive.
“Our goal is to advance precision medicine in every clinical setting by enabling clinicians to leverage the power of comprehensive genomic information,” said Mark Stevenson, executive vice president and COO at Thermo Fisher Scientific in press release on the launch of Genexus. “We can envision a time when patients at local hospitals will have faster access to comprehensive test results that can guide more effective, targeted therapy selection and improved health outcomes.”
Its placement at LabCorp allows it to use the Genexus platform immediately for cancer research and new test development, as well as other potential applications. Once validated, the automated platform can help accelerate access to next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing for clinical trials through LabCorp’s specialty and drug development central laboratories. If it is cleared and approved for diagnostic use, LabCorp could deploy the technology at smaller LabCorp facilities.
“The Thermo Fisher Genexus System and Oncomine Precision Assay could one day be deployed throughout our central laboratories to accelerate the development of precision medicine applications, including companion diagnostics,” said Steve Anderson, Ph.D., CSO of Covance, a division of LabCorp. “This platform has the potential to help expand access to NGS testing and become pivotal to LabCorp maximizing our unique capabilities in both diagnostics and drug development to benefit customers and, most importantly, patients.”