Illumina inks deal with J&J, AstraZeneca, Sanofi

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Illumina has teamed up with three drugmakers in an effort to create diagnostics which will help match patients to the right cancer treatments. The collaboration will use Illumina's rapid sequencing technology, and the goal is to create a diagnostic that will be of use to patients and which will also be used as part of a drugmaker's clinical trials.

Forbes's Matthew Herper points out that such diagnostics are essential because they help eliminate drugs that are not worth a patient's time or expense as well as point to drug combinations that could make a difference. llumina's chief medical officer told Herper in an earlier interview that the firm's goal is to create a universal testing panel. He said part of this goal requires a willingness to collaborate, with drugmakers sharing what genes their drugs are targeting.

“Our aim is for doctors to be able to use these tests to prescribe the right medicines for the right patients—bringing benefits to healthcare professionals, payers and patients alike,” AstraZeneca's personalized healthcare and biomarkers VP Ruth March said in a statement.

Friends of Cancer Research Ellen Sigal considers the effort a watershed moment. "The transition to patient-centered companion therapeutics marks a new era for oncology," she said in a statement published by Illumina.

The new test will focus on around 125 cancer-causing genes.
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