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Thermo Fisher to Develop Tumor Companion Diagnostic with GSK and Pfizer

September 30, 2014

Genetic testing company Thermo Fisher Scientific has entered into partnership with GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer to develop a universal next-generation sequencing oncology test for solid tumors that will be used as a companion diagnostic for multiple drug programs, the Waltham, Mass., company said.

Thermo Fisher will develop the test using its proprietary Ion Personal Genome Machine Dx Platform, Ion AmpliSeq technology and content from the Oncomine Cancer Research Panel, it said.

Using the Ion PGM Sequencing Platform combined with Ion AmpliSeq technology, the test can simultaneously analyze hundreds of genes from tumor samples via next-generation sequencing, with high reproducibility and rapid turnaround time, Thermo Fisher noted.

Current genomic analysis technologies analyze only one or a few genetic markers at a time, which requires many samples and could take weeks to deliver all of the relevant information for therapy selection, the company said.

The Ion PGM-based sequencing platform can also analyze a large range of tumor samples, including small biopsies and fine needle aspirates, at the same time it performs other necessary pathology tests. The approach will help ensure that patients receive a targeted therapy that’s associated with their tumors’ genetic profile, said Dan Rhodes, head of Thermo Fisher’s Oncology for Life Science Solutions unit.

After the test is successfully developed and validated, Thermo Fisher plans to seek premarket FDA approval, it said. — Kellen Owings

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