Home 5 Articles 5 Onco Pharma Giants Team Up to Boost Access to Cancer Genomic Testing

Onco Pharma Giants Team Up to Boost Access to Cancer Genomic Testing

by | May 2, 2022 | Articles, Deals-lir, Essential, Laboratory Industry Report

The recently-formed Precision Cancer Consortium will make it easier for cancer patients around the world to get access to genomic testing.

Four of the world’s most prominent oncology pharma firms have formed a new consortium dedicated to an ambitious goal: making it easier for cancer patients to get access to genomic testing and other precision diagnostics on a global scale. The Precision Cancer Consortium (PCC), which announced its formation on April 12, was founded by Roche, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Bayer.

The PCC & Its Workstreams

“With cancer, the earlier patients are diagnosed and begin treatment, the better their outcomes tend to be,” noted Espen Walker of Roche, who will serve as PCC chair, in a statement. “Precision diagnostics, including comprehensive genomic testing, are an important part of developing treatment plans that can help patients.” But while advanced treatment is available to cancer patients, many people don’t go through biomarker testing to ensure they choose the best treatment option. One reason for that is that many are unaware that such testing even exists, according to a press release from the PCC. The PCC will address these barriers across the cancer ecosystem with the objective of improving outcomes for patients. Specifically, it will pursue two sets of initiatives to boost biomarker testing:
  • Workstream 1 will seek to increase awareness of the value of genomic testing among healthcare systems, providers, patients, and other stakeholders while working to remove barriers to such testing; and
  • Workstream 2 will pursue the objective of improving access to comprehensive genomic testing in clinical trials and routine care.
The group says it won’t promote or endorse therapeutic or diagnostic products and services and is open to additional members from the biotech and pharmaceutical communities. Here’s a summary of some of the other key strategic diagnostic deals announced in April 2022:

Strategic Alliances, Partnerships, & Collaborations

Partner 1Partner(s) 2+Deal Summary
IlluminaJanssen Biotech• Objective: Accelerate development of precision medicines
• Dynamic: Long-term collaboration to leverage Illumina's AI-based genome interpretation tools, whole-genome sequencing, and multiomic analysis services to create precision medicines at scale
• Janssen to codevelop CDx programs on Illumina's TruSight Oncology Comprehensive assay
IlluminaHannover Medical School• Objective: Implement whole-genome sequencing in critically ill children suspected of having a genetic or rare disease
• Dynamic: Illumina to provide reagents for library preparation and sequencing of 100 children along with access to its tertiary analysis pipeline and technical and bioinformatic support
Inoviq Ltd.University of Queensland• Objective: Develop exosome-based ovarian cancer screening test
• Dynamic: UQ researchers to identify and validate exosomal protein and miRNA biomarkers that when combined in its OCRF-7 algorithm show over 90% accuracy to detect stages I and II ovarian cancer in independent 500-sample retrospective case-control study
Yourgene HealthAmbry Genetics• Objective: Develop NIPT-related tests as part of Ambry’s women's health portfolio
• Dynamic: Multi-year license and supply agreement giving Ambry access to Yourgene's NIPT technology
• Expansion of existing strategic collaboration for genome services and products
NeoGenomicsEli Lily• Objective: Provide free genomic testing to patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
• Dynamic: NSCLC patients eligible for Lilly Lung Cancer Sponsored Testing Program to be tested using NeoGenomics' NeoType DNA and RNA Assay, which detects genomic alterations in NSCLC to guide targeted therapy decisions
LabcorpGetlabs• Objective: Provide at-home blood draws and specimen collection services
• Dynamic: Getlabs for Labcorp service currently available in 50 US markets covering more than 50 percent of the US population covering Labcorp’s full testing menu with fees starting at $25
Codexis, Inc. seqWell• Objective: Accelerate commercialization of seqWell’s genomics workflow solutions
• Dynamic: Combine Codexis’ CodeEvolver platform technology for enzyme optimization with seqWell’s genomics workflow and library preparation products
• As part of partnership, Codexis led seqWell’s $7 million Series C financing with a $5 million investment
MGI Tech (part of BGI Group)Nalagenetics• Objective: Codevelop low-coverage whole-genome sequencing (WGS) workflow for risk prediction and pharmacogenomics by optimizing next-generation sequencing workflows using MGI devices and products
• Dynamic: Nalagenetics to offer its Clinical Decision Support software to analyze WGS data generated by MGI's DNBSeq sequencing platform to create "clinical-grade reports" for pharmacogenomics and polygenic risk scores
Amoy DiagnosticsAstraZeneca• Objective: Develop and commercialize AmoyDx assays that may cover any type of indication or biomarker for companion diagnostic use with AstraZeneca medicines
• Dynamic: First projects under agreement include codevelopment of a CDx to identify prostate cancer patients in China, the EU, and Japan with homologous recombination repair (HRR) gene mutations, and a CDx to identify breast cancer patients in EU with BRCA gene mutations for AstraZeneca/Merck's Lynparza (olaparib) monotherapy
AmoyDxBeckman Coulter Life Sciences• Objective: Develop new applications" on Beckman’s newly launched Biomek NGenius Liquid Handling System NGS library prep system
• Dynamic: Developed applications to be available to all users via an "electronic application library"
BC PlatformsSAS Institute• Objective: Provide life sciences and healthcare organizations curated genomics and other patient data
• Dynamic: Partnership expected to help the companies break down data silos and ultimately improve prediction of health outcomes
NeoGenomicsBiognosys• Objective: Promote biopharma research and development
• Dynamic: Global strategic partnership agreement encompasses multiple initiatives, including NeoGenomics' labs offering access to Biognosys proteomics platforms, medical and scientific affairs joint presentations and discussions, and global scientific and technical initiatives
AffyXell Therapeutics (joint venture between Avacta Group and Daewoong Pharmaceutical)Biocytogen
Korea Non-Clinical Technology Solution Center
• Objective: Develop new immune disease in vivo models and use the models to carry out proof-of-concept and toxicity testing of AffyXell’s drug candidates
• Dynamic: Leverage Biocytogen’s platform for gene editing, which creates mouse models capable of producing human antibodies with KNTSC to provide the infrastructure and management for pre-clinical trials
PathAIGlaxoSmithKline• Objective: Accelerate scientific research and drug development programs in oncology and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
• Dynamic: Strategic multiyear partnership to combine GSK's and PathAI's AI and platform engineering teams to scale algorithm development and enable discovery of new insights that can be integrated into clinical trials
UltivuePaige• Objective: Codevelop and comarket AI-powered spatial immunophenotyping for pharmaceutical and research customers
• Dynamic: Develop AI to enable improved understanding of tumor microenvironment and support interpretation of Ultivue’s multiplex immunofluorescence immuno-oncology biomarker panels
PromegaStilla Technologies• Objective: Comarketing Promega's Maxwell systems for nucleic acid extraction with Stilla's six-color Naica digital PCR system to offer workflow for different applications
• Dynamic: Create new end-to-end solution to facilitate shift of high multiplex genomic signatures from liquid biopsies, typically performed via NGS in centralized labs, to decentralized testing
Qiagen Digital InsightsATCC• Objective: Create database to help QDI biotechnology and pharmaceutical customers discover new disease pathways and therapeutic targets
• Dynamic: Nonprofit biological resource and standards organization ATCC to provide QDI sequencing data from its collection of animal and human cell lines and biological materials
Guardant HealthEpic• Objective: Enable clinicians to order Guardant's tests electronically within the Epic EHR system
• Dynamic: Integrate Guardant Health’s portfolio of cancer tests into the Epic EHR system
Myeloid TherapeuticsPrime Medicine• Objective: Advance Myeloid's RNA-based, retrotransposon-mediated gene insertion technology, RetroT, for therapeutic applications
• Dynamic: Prime gets an exclusive option to license the technology in exchange for an upfront $45 million payment to Myeloid
OncoDNASynlab• Objective: Offer OncoDNA’s OncoDeep test for cancer therapy selection in Germany
• Dynamic: Synlab to perform OncoDeep cancer sequencing test to evaluate solid tumors in Germany and also provide treatment decision support to oncologists
MiR ScientificLeonie Hill Capital• Objective: Launch MiR's Sentinel Prostate Cancer urine liquid biopsy assay
• Dynamic: Start by launching the test that uses a single urine sample to identify prostate cancer and classify disease severity in Singapore during Q2

Distribution, Sales, & Marketing Agreements

Product OwnerDistributorDeal Summary
Zeesan BiotechAlercell• Products: Zeesan’s Leukemia Fusion Gene Screening and Genotyping Kit
• Territory: Undisclosed
Purigen BiosystemsGC Biotech• Products: Purigen’s Ionic Purification System and microfluidic kits
• Territory: Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg
• Exclusive
PixCell MedicalMakGroup Healthcare• Products: PixCell’s HemoScreen hematology analyzer
• Territory: United Arab Emirates
• Exclusive
DNA ScriptCold Spring Biotech• Products: DNA Script's Syntax DNA printing system
• Territory: Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan
DNA ScriptResearch Instruments• Products: DNA Script's Syntax DNA printing system
• Territory: Singapore
DNA ScriptPremas Life Sciences• Products: DNA Script's Syntax DNA printing system
• Territory: India
DNA ScriptBio-Medical Science• Products: DNA Script's Syntax DNA printing system
• Territory: South Korea


LicensorLicenseeDeal Summary
ERS GenomicsSumitomo PharmaJapanese drug producer gets nonexclusive license to CRISPR-Cas9 patents to develop new biotechnology products

Government Contracts

ContractorGovt. AgencyContract Summary
Abbott LaboratoriesU.S. Army$1 billion contract to provide BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 antigen tests to federal government which will be distributed free to public

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