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AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands & SAN DIEGO—Two industry giants—Royal Philips and Illumina Inc.—are kicking off the new year with a genomics-focused strategic collaboration. The companies will work to integrate Illumina's sequencing systems for large-scale analysis of genetic variation and function with Philips' IntelliSpace Genomics clinical informatics platform, and to handle marketing and sales of the solutions produced by the partnership. In addition, Illumina and Philips will pursue clinical research collaborations with U.S. health systems interested in developing precision medicine programs in oncology.
“We believe that this collaboration will provide an excellent path for our next-generation sequencing systems to be incorporated into health systems in the U.S. and worldwide,” said Francis deSouza, president and CEO of Illumina. “One key strategy in our commitment to improving human health is connecting genomics to the everyday business of healthcare: based on integrated patient data, embedded into clinical pathways, supported by real-world evidence and reimbursement models.”
The partners will work together in order to offer new solutions to aid in acquiring, analyzing, annotating and interpreting genomics data for cancer. In particular, Illumina and Philips will collaborate on system integration, cohort analysis and health economics applications, as well as future research programs. Using Illumina's instrumentation and BaseSpace Sequence Hub to acquire genomics data, it will then be processed through Philips' IntelliSpace Genomics solution for oncology, which will combine data from a variety of sources—such as radiology, immunohistochemistry, medical records, lab test and digital pathology—to provide a consolidated look at the data.
According to Jeroen Tas, CEO of Connected Care and Health Informatics at Philips, “The value of genomic information for personalized care, and for the treatment of patients with cancer in particular, is tremendous. Until now the ability to use genomic data with the aim of having a precise diagnosis of cancer and improve treatment was mostly for the domain of academic centers. Through this collaboration we will unlock the value of genomics for a much wider group of laboratories and care providers to help them advance genomics initiatives at greater speed with the aim to offer precision medicine with better outcomes for their patients.”
Illumina's partnership with IBM Watson Health, announced the same day, has a similar focus on genome data interpretation. The companies will integrate Watson for Genomics into Illumina's BaseSpace Sequence Hub and tumor sequencing process in hopes of aiding in standardizing and simplifying the interpretation of genomic data.
“To enable precision cancer medicine on a large scale, we need new tools to overcome the data barriers of genomic research,” deSouza explained in a press release. “With a comprehensive assay of Illumina and the power of Watson, we hope to deliver a rapid turnaround of the genomic alteration results.”
This combination will provide researchers with rapid access to information to aid in interpreting variant data provided by Illumina's TruSight Tumor 170, a solid tumor profiling panel that can detect a comprehensive set of variants across 170 genes. Watson for Genomics intakes data from some 10,000 scientific articles and 100 new clinical trials each month, and will reduce the time needed to read TruSight Tumor 170 files and comb relevant information sources for each identified alteration from more than a week to a matter of minutes. It is expected that IBM's Watson for Genomics software will be available to support the assay early this year.
“This partnership lays the groundwork for more systematic study of the impact of genomics in oncology,” remarked Deborah DiSanzo, general manager, IBM Watson Health. “Together we are poised to help researchers realize the potential of precision oncology by expanding access to valuable genome sequencing from Illumina and reliable, standardized genomic interpretation from Watson.”