MetaMedical™ Solutions Inc

Bayer and Thermo Fisher join forces to develop companion diagnostic assays

Bayer and Thermo Fisher Scientific have entered a collaboration to develop next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based companion diagnostic assays (CDx).

The assays, which will make use of Thermo Fisher’s NGS platform, will be used to help identify patients eligible for Bayer’s precision cancer therapies.

Thermo Fisher’s Oncomine Dx Express Test, which is on the company’s Ion Torrent Genexus Dx System, will be offered up for the collaboration. The CE-marked in-vitro diagnostic can deliver results on a patient’s tumour or liquid biopsy within 24 hours.

The companies stated the goal of the partnership is to offer decentralised genomic testing and rapid turnaround time. Financial details were not disclosed.

Companion diagnostics are tests used to help match patients to a specific therapy. As the understanding of diseases advances, the tests are important in facilitating a more personalised treatment approach. In what is termed as moving away from “one size fits all”, CDx can identify subpopulations of patients who would benefit from a specific drug or biological product.

Bayer is not the only big pharma to tap Thermo Fisher’s CDx technology. In January 2023, AstraZeneca partnered with the company to make a solid tissue and blood-based CDx to identify non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who could be eligible for Tagrisso (osimertinib).

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NGS is a technology used to determine the sequences of DNA or RNA and study a genetic variation’s link to diseases. A report by GlobalData estimates the global NGS market will be worth $60m by 2033, up from $24.7m in 2023. Currently, US biotech Illumina is estimated to have a 46.7% market share compared to Thermo Fisher’s 12%, according to the market model.

The genetic sequencing space has been under the spotlight recently amid competition concerns. Illumina had to battle antitrust regulators after it reacquired cancer-test provider Grail in an $8bn deal in 2020. Illumina ultimately divested the company last year while Thermo Fisher carried out its own acquisition when it spent $3.1bn to absorb Swedish proteomics company Olink. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority then placed the life sciences giant under investigation in early 2024.

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