March 17, 2020
Illumina, Inc. (Nasdaq: ILMN) announced a global strategic partnership with IDbyDNA Inc., a metagenomics technology company setting a standard for detection, identification and interpretation of microorganisms and their role in human health, to bring comprehensive next-generation sequencing (NGS) based workflows to the global microbiology market.
Under the terms of the agreement, Illumina and IDbyDNA will each co-market IDbyDNA’s Explify® Platform for use with Illumina’s NGS systems and library preparation to provide a complete, streamlined workflow solution for infectious disease applications. In addition, IDbyDNA and Illumina will partner to co-develop research use only (RUO) workflows.
We recognize that a key barrier to adoption of next-generation sequencing for infectious disease testing has been the lack of simple, powerful bioinformatics software to turn the data generated by the sequencer into actionable insights. IDbyDNA’s Explify Platform combined with Illumina’s NGS systems and library preparation creates a powerful, comprehensive infectious disease workflow.
The partnership aims to enable broad distribution of NGS equipment, library prep, as well as other reagents to provide high-fidelity NGS analysis, interpretation and reporting capabilities to laboratories and hospitals around the world. The goal is to accelerate and improve testing for infectious diseases. It has been accelerated to provide improved support to customers globally performing NGS for surveillance purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to supporting COVID-19 surveillance, the initial commercial RUO workflows will focus on multiple types of infections, particularly those to which NGS brings unique value over current techniques, as well as support for COVID-19 surveillance. These workflows leverage Illumina’s library preparation and NGS systems, and IDbyDNA’s Explify Platform. The goal is to enable labs to develop tests that will concurrently provide comprehensive pathogen identification and information regarding antimicrobial resistance markers.
“We recognize that a key barrier to adoption of next-generation sequencing for infectious disease testing has been the lack of simple, powerful bioinformatics software to turn the data generated by the sequencer into actionable insights”, said Kathy Davy, Vice President of Clinical Marketing at Illumina. “IDbyDNA’s Explify Platform combined with Illumina’s NGS systems and library preparation creates a powerful, comprehensive infectious disease workflow.”
“Metagenomic NGS-based testing enables the most comprehensive detection of hundreds to thousands of pathogens, both for routine testing and for emerging public health threats like SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak. Importantly, we are able to determine not only the presence of this emerging virus but also decipher the genetic makeup of individual strains allowing us to compare strains, differentiate them from other coronaviruses and perform surveillance activities right at the time of diagnosis,” said Jeff Field, CCO of IDbyDNA. “With the increase in global travel and economic integration, the ability to monitor and track the spread of pathogens such as the novel coronavirus is a critical public health challenge. Working with an NGS leader, we plan to rapidly make the Explify Platform the new standard for worldwide infectious disease diagnostics and surveillance.”
The first clinical laboratory in the U.S to engage with IDbyDNA and Illumina is Synergy Laboratories, based in Alabama. Synergy is currently offering the first comprehensive NGS-based test for urinary tract infections (UTI) that includes ~100 uropathogens, quantification and 371 select genetic markers of antibiotic resistance using the Explify Platform to analyze results.
“We realize that NGS-based testing in microbiology is the future of infectious disease testing, as such we are partnering with Illumina and IDbyDNA to bring this new technology to the Southeastern U.S. market now and start offering our clinicians and patients the most comprehensive infectious disease testing currently available,” said Brad Pitts, CEO of Synergy Laboratories.
IDbyDNA’s Explify Platform, in combination with Illumina’s NGS platforms and reagents, aim to provide the microbiology market with the first commercially available workflow solution to enable laboratories and hospitals to perform comprehensive NGS-based diagnostics, including broad pathogen detection, antimicrobial resistance and quantification, to derive greater insights from patient samples more quickly.