Illumina, Sequenta partner up on next-gen cancer diagnostic

Coming off a huge third quarter for revenue growth, genomic sequencing outfit Illumina ($ILMN) this week inked a deal with Sequenta to commercialize a diagnostics kit that detects a condition associated with cancer remission.

The in vitro diagnostic kit will use Sequenta's next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology to identify minimal residual disease--small numbers of scattered cancer cells in a patient's body that are left over during or after treatment. The companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

"This partnership is consistent with our strategy to support third party IVD products on our sequencing platform," said Nicholas Naclerio, Illumina's senior vice president of corporate and venture development, in a statement.

Illumina, which participated in Sequenta's recent Series D funding round, has been especially active in the in vitro diagnostics space this year. The San Diego company partnered with Reprogenetics on infertility sequencing tech in October and launched its VeriSeq diagnostic tool in August to improve pregnancy success rates.

The MiSeqDx System--Courtesy of Illumina

Last year, Illumina's MiSeqDx Sytem became the first NGS DNA sequencing platform to gain FDA approval. That no doubt contributed to Illumina raking in its biggest revenues since 2011 last quarter.

Meanwhile, Sequenta's technology has attracted investor interest recently with the backing of new equity investment from Celgene ($CELG) and other unnamed parties for the creation of new ultraprecise diagnostic tests.

Sequenta is hoping that Illumina's track record will help boost its visibility to pharma companies measuring minimal residual disease in clinical trials of blood cancer drugs. 

- get the press release

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