Qiagen has entered an international strategic alliance with Japan’s Sysmex to develop and market cancer companion diagnostics (CDx) leveraging the latter’s Plasma-Safe-SeqS technology for next-generation sequencing (NGS).

The Plasma-Safe-SeqS technology can identify cancer gene mutations from blood with high sensitivity.

The partners aim to form alliances with pharmaceutical firms to develop drug treatments for cancer and boost quick clinical use of ultra-sensitive liquid biopsy CDx.

Apart from the latest deal for cancer CDx, Qiagen and Sysmex have an existing partnership, which includes the offering of the ipsogen JAK2 blood cancer test in Japan.

Genetic analysis of tumours enables detection of the genes that cause the tumour’s development and spread, offering targeted therapies, Qiagen noted.

However, standard analysis of solid tumours is limited due to their heterogeneity and the availability of samples.

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Liquid biopsy can address these issues and, along with sensitive NGS, permits the assessment of patients at various points of their cancer therapy.

Furthermore, it also facilitates the detection of new anomalies, allowing medications to be altered for better accuracy as well as the development of new targeted treatments.

The new cancer companion diagnostics products resulting from the alliance will be introduced by the companies in various markets globally.

Qiagen corporate business development and molecular diagnostics business area head and senior vice-president Jean-Pascal Viola said: “Combining Qiagen’s global reach with Sysmex’s NGS capabilities is an important milestone in advancing the use of NGS technologies in clinical decision-making and is a testament to our shared vision of using this powerful technology to improve outcomes for patients worldwide.

“This alliance will add strong NGS capabilities to our regulatory and clinical expertise and commercialisation and help our partners in the pharmaceuticals industry by expanding our strong position and product offering in companion diagnostics.”

In March, the US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorisation to Qiagen’s portable, rapid QIAreach Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Total Test for Covid-19 antibody detection.