Silicon Biosystems Menarini has entered a collaboration with South Korea-based Macrogen to develop new clinical assays and procedures for precision medicine in cancer.

As part of the deal, Silicon Biosystems’ DEPArray digital-sorting technology will be combined with Macrogen’s next-generation sequencing capabilities to develop tests certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) of 1988 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of the US.

The combination of Macrogen’s whole-genome, whole-exome and targeted sequencing capabilities with the DEPArray’s technology is expected to help resolve cellular heterogeneity of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) biopsies and fine-needle aspiration (FNA) samples.

"Through DEPArray sorting, we can help rescue samples with a very low number of tumour cells."

Silicon Biosystems president and CEO Giuseppe Giorgini said: "Pure cells provide exact answers about all kinds of genomic variation and instability from the level of targeted cancer panels up to the whole genome level, making DEPArray sorting and sequencing an unparalleled tool for precision patient stratification.

"Furthermore, through DEPArray sorting, we can help rescue samples with a very low number of tumour cells, like FNAs and low-cellularity FFPE.

"We believe that Macrogen, with its proven NGS expertise, is an ideal partner to make such benefits available to patients and pharmaceutical companies through combined services provided in a CLIA environment."

The new assays and procedures are expected to help deliver pure cancer and tumour-negative control cells, as well as other key cellular elements such as tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes from FFPE tumour samples.

Macrogen chairman Dr Jeong-Sun Seo said: "This collaboration between Macrogen and Silicon Biosystems Menarini for the development of tumour-cell specific cancer somatic variants analysis will bring the critical benefit of precision medicine to cancer patients in urgent need sooner than we expected."

Macrogen is focused on providing DNA sequencing, next-generation sequencing, microarray analysis, oligonucleotide synthesis, DNA chip and genetically engineered mice services in around 120 countries.