Illumina Looks to Consolidate NGS Market in APAC Region, Collaborates with Geneseeq to Develop IVD Kits in China

by Rajaneesh K. Gopinath
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Geneseeq Technology Inc. is a company that provides cutting-edge, next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology to advance precision oncology. The company has two headquarters, one in Toronto, Canada, and another in Nanjing, China.

Geneseeq provides a comprehensive genomic profiling panel called GeneseeqPrime® for patients with solid tumors. The NGS-based test currently analyzes 425 cancer-related genes and identifies single nucleotide variants (SNVs), indels, copy number variations (CNVs), gene fusions, and large genomic rearrangements. It assesses key biomarkers, such as tumor mutation burden (TMB) and microsatellite instability (MSI).


Second Collaboration with Illumina

On March 16th, Geneseeq announced a collaboration with sequencing giant Illumina to develop and commercialize in vitro diagnostic (IVD) NGS kits in China for comprehensive cancer care. The kits will be available for patients at hospital testing centers or when services are availed directly from Geneseeq.

The IVD kits will be developed using Illumina’s NextSeq™ 550Dx sequencing platform, which was approved by China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) for genetic testing and diagnosis in December 2020. Geneseeq will also make use of IVD instruments and components supplied by Illumina.

The two companies collaborated earlier in 2018 to seek NMPA approval for Essencare®, an NGS-based test for NSCLC.

According to Dr. Xue Wu, CEO and Co-Founder of Geneseeq Canada, this collaboration will deliver a streamlined workflow and produce accurate testing results rapidly. This will help cancer patients access critical information to optimize their treatment plans and benefit from precision medicine.

“We’re pleased to extend our collaboration with Geneseeq to develop assays based on the newly approved NextSeq 550Dx in China,” said Li Qing, Vice President and General Manager of Greater China at Illumina. “Together with partners such as Geneseeq, we are able continuously bring in innovative NGS testing products to patients in China, and ultimately help them by unlocking the power of genome.”


Capitalizing on the Growing NGS Market

Precision oncology advocates customizing cancer therapies to serve an individual patient’s needs. With more and more companies investing in the concept, the NGS market is poised for rapid progress. China especially is witnessing steady growth in this area with several investments and international collaborations between companies. As per a 2020 report, the NGS market in the Asia Pacific region was predicted to be worth $800 million at the end of 2020. It is further expected to grow to $2.49 billion at an annual growth rate of 25.35% from 2020 to 2025.

Illumina has been making several moves to consolidate its presence in the NGS market in China. Early this year, it partnered with Sequoia Capital China, a leading investment firm, to launch Sequoia Capital China Intelligent Healthcare Genomics Incubator in Shanghai. The incubator offers several attractive benefits for startups, which are listed as follows:

  1. Illumina will offer its sequencing system and reagents for free. Besides, startups can utilize their genomics expertise and can also receive professional consultation.
  2. Sequoia Capital China will provide a minimum of $500,000 upfront payment as seed funding.
  3. Sequoia Capital China will also offer guidance on investment and business development.
  4. The incubator will provide operational lab space to ease the burden of equipment and rental costs.

Related Article: Illumina Launches Incubator in Shanghai to Accelerate Genomics Startups


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