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Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck, and Illumina, Inc., have agreed to work together to expand the development of a universal next-generation sequencing-based oncology
Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck, and Illumina, Inc., have agreed to work together to expand the development of a universal next-generation sequencing-based oncology diagnostic for clinical trials of targeted cancer therapies.
Under the deal, the two companies will develop assays that detect and simultaneously measure multiple genetic variants in a single tumor sample. Illumina’s regulatory track record was an important consideration because next-generation sequencing platforms cleared by a regulatory agency can accelerate the development of an assay and facilitate the registration of a companion diagnostic, according to Merck Serono.
“Our collaboration with Illumina around next-generation sequencing will enable us to perform genome studies at a pace unheard of a few years ago, and could lead to the development of several diagnostics,” said Susan Herbert, Head of Global Business Development at Merck Serono. “This collaboration will strengthen the position of Merck Serono as a global leader in precision medicine in oncology.”
The package will include development of the diagnostic, worldwide regulatory approvals, and global commercialization.
“This agreement is another step forward in realizing the promise of precision medicine,” said Richard Klausner, M.D., Illumina’s Chief Medical Officer. “There is a clear need to expand genetically-based clinical trials as a key approach for developing better treatments for cancer.”
This collaboration complements Merck Serono’s existing partnerships in the area of diagnostics, including Life Technologies and Dako. With headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, the company has brands available in 150 countries that help patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, endocrine and metabolic disorders as well as cardiovascular diseases.
Read the full release here.