ORIEN cancer consortium taps HudsonAlpha for clinical trial sequencing support

(By Girlscientist (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons)

A consortium of cancer centers has contracted HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology to sequence 20,000 samples by 2019. The sequencing will support a precompetitive cancer data sharing program.

M2Gen, an informatics research subsidiary of Moffitt Cancer Center, formed the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN) Avatar research program earlier this year to give drugmakers a way to access data analytics that support therapeutic development efforts. Celgene signed up as a founding industry member, with Takeda coming on board as a collaborator two months later. ORIEN is also working to ensure patients have access to relevant clinical trials.

To support these activities, ORIEN has turned to HudsonAlpha for sequencing services. Over the next few years, HudsonAlpha will use its sequencing capabilities--which include an Illumina ($ILMN) HiSeq X Ten system--to process 20,000 patient samples from tumors and other sites. HudsonAlpha will carry out whole exome and RNA sequencing on the samples, giving Orien access to data it expects to help match patients to trials, furthering its ambition to truncate development timelines. 

“The sequencing capabilities and expertise of HudsonAlpha will help accelerate the process, creating more options for patients and a more effective means to drive the development of life-saving treatments," M2Gen CEO William Dalton said in a statement.

M2Gen is hoping HudsonAlpha will enable ORIEN to understand the genetic composition of tumors, as well as the DNA profile of the patients in which they reside. These data are expected to feed into efforts at Celgene, Takeda and any other drugmakers that sign up to the service to develop targeted cancer therapies.

The samples will come from Moffitt, Ohio State University, City of Hope, Rutgers and the other cancer centers that make up ORIEN, organizations that may also act as trial sites for the biopharma members of the program.