Illumina makes moves in China with Burning Rock cancer Dx deal

Rick Klausner, Illumina's chief medical officer

Illumina ($ILMN) is joining forces with China's Burning Rock to create cancer diagnostics geared toward the Chinese market, combining its sequencing prowess with Burning Rock's research know-how to increase its footprint in the country.

As part of the deal, Burning Rock will bring its nucleic acid extraction, library preparation and data analysis software to the table and Illumina will provide NGS instrument components and reagents. If all goes to plan, the pair will develop an easy-to-use, oncology molecular diagnostic kit for the Chinese market as well as other sequencing tools for the clinical market, the companies said in a statement.

"Illumina is very excited to collaborate with Burning Rock to increase access to oncology diagnosis solutions in China," Dr. Rick Klausner, Illumina's SVP and CMO, said in a statement. "We are committed to partnering with Chinese companies who share our vision of improving human health by unlocking the power of the genome."

The partnership follows on the heels of more collaboration for Illumina in China. In June, the sequencing giant said it would work with Chinese genomics firm Annoroad to develop noninvasive prenatal screening tools based on Illumina's next-generation sequencing technology (NGS), helping Illumina cash in on China's rapidly growing med tech market. The company is also working with Chinese prenatal testing outfit Berry Genomics to bolster its presence in the country, CEO Jay Flatley said during the company's Q2 earnings call, increasing its shipments to Chinese hospitals that want to bring the testing in-house.

Meanwhile, Burning Rock is also charting progress in the country. The Guangzhou, China-based company just finished a $23 million round to fuel development for its diagnostics for solid tumor cancers. And Burning Rock is no stranger to fundraising, raising $9.7 million last year in a Series A round that drew investors including Northern Light Venture Capital and Legend Star.

Illumina is not the only company eyeing the Chinese market. Industry heavyweight Roche ($RHHBY) unveiled plans last year for a new diagnostic manufacturing facility in the country. The company said it would sink 450 million Swiss francs into a manufacturing site in Suzhou, China, addressing an increased demand for its tests in the Asia Pacific region while expanding its global footprint.

- read the statement