Thermo Fisher Scientific’s clinical sequencing unit and AstraZeneca have collaborated under a multi-year, global agreement to jointly create next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based companion diagnostics (CDx).

Through the agreement, the companies intend to grow AstraZeneca’s targeted treatment portfolio.

NGS-based CDx are widely used to match patients with new treatments for cancer and other diseases.

More than 90% of the clinical pipeline at AstraZeneca, including key regions such as oncology, cardiovascular, renal, metabolic and respiratory diseases, are targeted precision medicine treatments.

At present, Thermo Fisher provides the only internationally distributable NGS CDx solution cleared and reimbursed by government and commercial insurers in more than 15 countries, including the US, various European countries, Japan, South Korea and the Middle East.

In 2019, Thermo Fisher launched the Ion Torrent Genexus System to boost international access to an expanding list of precision medicine treatments.

This Ion system is the first completely integrated NGS platform that has an automated specimen-to-report workflow to economically offer results in one day.

Thermo Fisher’s comprehensive NGS workflow, driven by Ion AmpliSeq technology, comprises various solutions for solid tumour biomarkers and liquid biopsy testing.

Thermo Fisher Scientific clinical NGS and oncology president Garret Hampton said: “As the pipeline of targeted therapies expands, the availability of diagnostic tools that can interrogate multiple biomarkers simultaneously will ensure patients can be matched with the right therapies more rapidly – this is the promise of precision medicine.

“Introduction of diagnostic tools early in the process of drug development can further facilitate the success of CDx development – and that’s what we’re doing with AstraZeneca.”

The partnership could aid in the quicker development and launch of targeted precision medicine treatments for patients.

AstraZeneca precision medicine and biosamples senior vice-president Ruth March said: “Using the latest diagnostic science allows us to match the best treatment to the patient.

“This collaboration with Thermo Fisher offers the technology, expertise and ability to decentralise CDx tests to local healthcare providers across our global markets, which will help us identify more patients around the world who may benefit from treatments and effective patient care.”

Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration granted approval to Thermo Fisher Scientific’s blood test for detecting systemic lupus erythematosus, the most common kind of lupus.