Illumina expands in China with cancer Dx deal

Rick Klausner, Illumina's chief medical officer

Illumina ($ILMN) is joining forces with China's Amoy Diagnostics to create next-generation sequencing (NGS) cancer tests for the Chinese clinical market, expanding its footprint in the country while strengthening its commitment to developing innovative technology for the disease.

Neither side is revealing financial terms, but Illumina will lend its NGS platforms to Amoy to create genetics tests for cancer, heeding the call for more precision medicine and targeted therapies in China, the companies said in a statement. The number of clinically actionable genetic variants for cancer is growing at a rapid clip, and NGS technology is "crucial in order for companion diagnostics to keep pace," Amoy CEO Limou Zheng said in a statement.

Illumina is a "natural partner" for Amoy, Zheng added, as the company looks to build on its portfolio of genetic tests, including those for EGFR, KRAS and BRAF mutations. A deal also stands to benefit Illumina, as it dials up its presence in China's rapidly growing diagnostics market.

"NGS technology, with its ability to generate and analyze large-scale data and its high sensitivity in detecting rare mutations, has shown great value and potential for oncology," Rick Klausner, Illumina's SVP and CMO, said in a statement. "Working with market leaders such as Amoy is central to Illumina's strategy to advance personalized cancer diagnostics globally."

Earlier this year, the company announced that it would work with Chinese genomics company Annoroad to develop noninvasive NGS prenatal screening tools. The companies plan to use Illumina's sequencers and Annoroad's clinical genomics expertise to create a suite of advanced products for reproductive health. "We are committed to partnering with Chinese companies who share our vision of … unlocking the power of the human genome," Tristan Orpin, Illumina's SVP of Reproductive and Genetic Health, said at the time.

In August, Illumina said it would team up with China's Burning Rock to make cancer diagnostics, building on its recent progress in the country to develop an easy-to-use oncology molecular diagnostic kit and other clinical sequencing tools.

- read the statement

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