Global CRO Quintiles and gene sequencing magnate Illumina are scouting for some promising scientists, offering the use of their cash and technology to advance oncology research.
Illumina has laid the groundwork for increased use of next-generation sequencing in clinical research by striking a deal with Big Pharma, which could result in the company disrupting diagnostics using its dominance in NGS.
Pharma giants AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi have teamed up with gene sequencing pioneer Illumina to create a single test that screen patients for a wealth of cancer-related gene variants, allowing drugmakers to identify the ideal recipients of their oncology drugs.
Illumina has inked deals with three major Big Pharma companies with a goal of developing a universal gene-sequencing companion diagnostic test system focused on cancer.
Oxford Nanopore has raised a huge amount of money for a very tiny technology--about $302 million in total since it was founded in 2005. But despite an unclear commercial timeline for this private, U.K. company, investors have piled in again with £35 million ($59 million).
While early adopters of Illumina's $1,000 genome machine the HiSeq X Ten have been testing the system for months, researchers from less wealthy organizations have had no access to the technology. In a limited way that changed this week, when the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, DNAnexus and AllSeq teamed up to share data from a HiSeq X Ten.
The British government has unveiled a major funding boost for its 100,000 Genomes Project, with a further $506 million (£300 million) set to be spent over the next four years. Illumina is responsible for more than half of the cash, with the U.S. sequencing giant due to invest $273 million in England.
When Illumina unveiled its HiSeq X Ten in January, the alignment between its capabilities and the needs of England's 100K Genome Project were clear. The project aims to sequence 100,000 genomes by 2017 for around $160 million, figures that only look achievable using the massive output and relatively low costs of the HiSeq X Ten. This week the tie-up became official.
While Apple, Google and Samsung are all trying to persuade people to use their mobile technology to create personal health hubs, Illumina plans to take the concept further still. The genomic giant is working to turn smartphones into "molecular stethoscopes" that could change how patients interact with the healthcare and research ecosystems.
Having seen off Roche's 454 Life Sciences and established a big lead over its remaining rivals, Illumina now faces a new challenger for the DNA sequencing market.