Two leaders in genomics and molecular analysis, Illumina and QIAGEN, have announced a 15-year partnership that the companies say is aimed at increasing the availability and use of NGS-based in-vitro diagnostics (IVDs) for precision medicine applications.
Under the terms of the agreement, Qiagen has received non-exclusive right to develop and commercialize diagnostic kits to used on Illumina’s MiSeq Dx and NextSeq 550Dx sequencing systems, with Illumina also holding the right to expand the relationship to future diagnostic systems it develops. The agreement also includes a provision for Qiagen to develop immunotherapy companion diagnostics based on Illumina’s TruSight Oncology assays.
“We are committed to expanding the range of clinical use cases addressed by genomic sequencing by enabling partners to deliver IVD tests and companion diagnostics on Illumina’s Dx instruments,” said Francis deSouza, CEO of Illumina in a press release. “Our partnership with Qiagen will complement Illumina’s TSO 500 family with additional testing menu options, accelerating NGS adoption in oncology patient management.”
According to the companies, the initial focus of the partnership will be on the commercialization of oncology diagnostic kits to aid clinical patient management. In the future, the diagnostics partnership may expand to other clinical areas such as cardiology, hereditary diseases, infectious diseases, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
For Qiagen, the deal will allow the company to develop an array of diagnostic tests designed to run on Illumina’s Dx line of sequencers, with the aim of increasing the footprint of both companies in the clinical diagnostics space. According to Qiagen, the partnership with Illumina further strengthens its presence in molecular precision medicine which currently includes 25 master collaboration agreements with pharma and biotech partners—agreements that have yielded seven co-approvals of a therapeutic and companion diagnostic.
“Bringing together our highly complementary capabilities marks an important milestone to advance the use of NGS technologies in clinical decision-making and our shared vision of using this powerful technology to improve the outcomes for patients worldwide,” said Peer M. Schatz, CEO of Qiagen in a prepared statement. “This partnership becomes a key cornerstone of our NGS strategy, which continues to include our universal solutions for use with any sequencer as well as the GeneReader NGS System for use primarily with smaller, targeted gene panels.”
For its part, Illumina has set its sights firmly on influencing and improving precision clinical care via its MiSeq Dx and NextSeq 550Dx systems as well as other technologies and assays. With its focus on reducing the cost of sequencing a whole genome to the $100 range, the company is working toward making NGS testing for patients a more integral part of everyday clinical care across a range of indications.