Illumina Launches Research Test Codeveloped with Merck to Unlock Deeper Insights into the Tumor Genome

New assay brings validated HRD technology from Myriad Genetics to the Illumina TruSight™ Oncology 500, a single, comprehensive pan-cancer test to identify key variants critical for cancer development and progression

 

Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN), a global leader in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies, today announced the launch of a research test, codeveloped with Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada). The research test builds upon Illumina’s commitment to broadly enable comprehensive genomic profiling and enhance research critical to realizing precision medicine in oncology. The test adds assessment of a new genomic signature to the distributed, market leading TruSight™ Oncology 500 assay. It will be available globally, excluding the United States and Japan and will enable researchers to unlock deeper insights about the tumor genome by identifying genetic mutations used in the evaluation of homologous recombination deficiency (HRD).

“HRD status has emerged as an important biomarker in tumors that harbor high levels of DNA damage, such as ovarian, breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancers,” said Phil Febbo, MD, chief medical officer at Illumina. “With one sample and one test, TruSight Oncology 500 HRD assay provides labs with comprehensive, accurate, sensitive results that can greatly enhance our understanding of the genomic nature of a tumor.”

The Research Use Only TruSight Oncology 500 HRD test is a next-generation sequencing (NGS)–based assay that harnesses the power of Illumina NGS technology and validated HRD technology from Myriad Genetics (NASDAQ: MYGN), enabling labs to accurately detect genomic instability and analyze more than 500 genes simultaneously, including those relevant to HRD status. HRD is a genomic signature used to describe when cells are unable to effectively repair double-stranded DNA breaks. When this occurs, cells rely on alternative, error-prone DNA repair mechanisms, which may lead to genomic instability and, eventually, tumor formation.

The Molecular Pathology Diagnostic Unit at the Technical University of Munich participated in the TSO 500 HRD early access program in order to compare the results of Illumina’s prototype TSO 500 HRD assay to a validated reference standard, from Myriad Genetics.

“Our institution is delighted by the release of TruSight Oncology 500 HRD and we are very happy with our results from the early access program,” said Nicole Pfarr, head of the Molecular Pathology Diagnostic Unit, Technische Universität München. “We look forward to using this assay routinely in our lab for future projects. Combining HRD assessment with TruSight Oncology 500 in one workflow will unlock the most comprehensive view of the tumor genome, while maintaining efficiency in the lab.”

Large-cohort studies show that comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) has the potential to identify relevant genetic alterations in up to 90% of samples. A single, comprehensive assay to assess a wide range of biomarkers uses less sample and returns results more quickly compared to multiple, iterative tests. As a kitted, distributable solution, this test helps to remove barriers for internalization of CGP and HRD testing, so that labs of all sizes can offer this powerful test.

“We are pleased to reach this first milestone with Illumina to commercialize an assay for HRD assessment that will aid in advancing clinical research and broaden access to clinical trials,” said Dr. Eric H. Rubin, senior vice president, early-stage development, clinical oncology, Merck Research Laboratories.

The research test is expected to begin shipping globally (excluding the US and Japan) in August. In addition, as part of the partnership announced in September 2021, work is ongoing to develop a new HRD companion diagnostic (CDx) test for the EU and the UK to aid in the identification of ovarian cancer patients with positive HRD status.

This partnership expands on Illumina’s broad portfolio of oncology partnerships with industry leaders, with the united goal of advancing cancer diagnostics and precision medicine.