A new tool in the fight against cancer is on the horizon.
Big pharma and one relatively small company are teaming up to develop a master test that will help doctors pick a combination of drugs tailored to the individual patient’s condition.
Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN), maker of the state of the art MiSeqDx DNA sequencer, joins drug giants AstraZenca (NYSE: AZN), Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) in the partnership that will work on the research, development, regulatory and commercial aspects of the project.
The San Diego-based company has developed the top-of-the-line DNA sequencing machine and would like to help maintain its No. 1 position in the industry, where it holds an 80 percent share by working with three far bigger drug companies.
CEO Jay Flatley has led the 16-year-old company to new heights in the genetic-testing industry. This latest effort is just one of a series of innovations that Illumina has bought to market over the years, including SNP genotyping, gene expression and protein analysis.
This British-Swedish company offers a series of cancer-fighting drugs such as Arimidex, Casodex and Faslodex that could be part of the program.
The project might allow the company to focus its efforts on the more effective drugs and boost its bottom line by speeding up its research and development process.
The Paris-based Sanofi, which has a prescence in the U.S., currently offers eight cancer-related drugs such as Elitek, Eloxatin and Mozobil, and is known for its cancer prevention and early treatment programs like the CEO Cancer Gold Standard.
The company might be looking to boost its cancer therapy business -- as most of its research is in the early stages of development -- and reverse declines in net sales and profits by signing on to the program.
Johnson & Johnson
The new initiative will be part of a recent growth spurt within Johnson & Johnson’s oncology business. The company has been making acquisitions, such as last year’s buyout of Aragon Pharmaceuticals, to enhance its prostate cancer treatment offerings.
The new program might help Johnson & Johnson in its R&D efforts much like AstraZeneca.
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