Next-generation sequencing (NGS) market leader Illumina announced on Wednesday a co-development deal with proteomic analysis company SomaLogic that will incorporate the SomaScan Proteomics Assay onto current and future high-throughput NGS platforms from Illumina. The deal comes amid an increasing focus on multiomic approaches to identifying complex biomarkers of cancer and other health conditions that can be targeted in precision medicine, drug development, and diagnostics.
According to an April 2021 paper published in Cell, genomic applications have allowed researchers, pharmaceutical developers, clinicians to make meaningful advances in oncology across the care continuum. But as it is understood that no two patients’ cancers are alike, so too has the understanding grown that further advances in precision approaches to cancer will require not just genomic information to guide therapies but phenotypic information derived by proteomic approaches.
“Cancer proteogenomics, the integration of proteomics with genomics, can successfully assign tumors to molecular subtypes that share oncogenic mechanisms and respond preferentially to targeted agents aimed at these mechanisms,” the authors wrote. “In this vision of precision cancer medicine, proteogenomic profiling will provide a molecular diagnosis of a patient’s cancer, which will carry recommendations for treatment regimens that are most likely to provide benefit.”
According to Illumina and SomaLogic, combining the companies’ technologies on a single platform will allow researchers to analyze thousands of samples for more than 10,000 protein targets. This will only increase over time, the companies noted in a press release, as Illumina integrates SomaLogic’s protein target volume with its sequencing technologies, DRAGEN informatics software to create NGS workflow solution that provides multiomic readouts on a single platform.
“Proteins play a central role in cellular function and health, and NGS can support a greater understanding of this role by unlocking biological insights at scale,” said Alex Aravanis, Illumina CTO in a press release. “We are committed to increasing the utility of NGS, and our partnership with SomaLogic will enable existing and future NGS customers to conduct even more sophisticated, high-throughput multiomic studies.”
The field of multiomic research already represents a market opportunity in excess of $50 billion annually, Illumina noted, with the fastest growth occurring in high-throughput technologies and assays.
For SomaLogic, the collaboration represents a significant market opportunity to broaden access to its proteomics assays through Illumina’s extensive installed base of NGS tools, while affording the company a runway to continue expanding its protein panels.
“This partnership brings together unique capabilities from Illumina and SomaLogic that will have a profound impact on the understanding, avoidance and treatment of human disease,” said SomaLogic CEO Roy Smythe, M.D. “Making this impact on human health has always been our goal at SomaLogic and we are excited to partner with Illumina to enable and empower proteomics and multiomics research.”