Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche has entered a partnership with US-based Illumina to provide broad access to clinical oncology next-generation sequencing (NGS).

The 15-year, non-exclusive agreement gives Roche rights to develop and distribute in vitro diagnostic tests on Illumina’s NextSeq 550Dx System, in addition to its upcoming portfolio of Dx sequencing systems.

The partnership will also see Roche joining forces with Illumina to expand the claims for Illumina’s pan-cancer assay TruSight Oncology 500 (TSO 500).

Roche Diagnostics CEO Thomas Schinecker said: “As a leader in diagnostic innovation that helps save and improve lives, Roche is pleased to enter into a collaboration agreement with Illumina to leverage our combined expertise in clinical oncology and next-generation sequencing.

“This collaboration is uniquely positioned to improve medical value and clinical decision making globally by combining the unique capabilities of the Roche Group including Foundation Medicine with Illumina and will provide more patients with access to NGS to characterise their disease and identify the right treatment for them.

“This builds upon our strategy of accelerating clinical research, streamlining workflows and expanding assay menus to broaden access to genomic data and lower barriers to routine use.”

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Roche plans to develop, manufacture and commercialise its Avenio cancer test kits for both tissue and blood samples, while Illumina will continue to sell its NextSeq 550Dx systems and core sequencing consumables.

Furthermore, both the firms will try to secure regulatory approvals for Illumina’s TruSight Oncology 500 assay (TSO 500) for both existing and pipeline Roche oncology targeted therapies.

Illumina CEO and president Francis deSouza said: “This partnership complements and strengthens our strategy to establish TSO 500 as a comprehensive NGS panel for cancer therapies by expanding the supported set of CDx claims on this universal panel.

“Building on the momentum of other recently established diagnostic and pharmaceutical partnerships, together we aim to advance critical access to NGS testing to improve patient outcomes.”