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Illumina, SomaLogic Ink Codevelopment Agreement for Proteomics Assays With Sequencing Readout

NEW YORK – Illumina said on Wednesday that it has entered into a codevelopment agreement with SomaLogic to create multiplexed, high-throughput proteomics assays with next-generation sequencing-based readout.

Under the terms of the agreement, San Diego-based Illumina will develop and market protein detection assays based on SomaLogic's SomaScan platform that run on Illumina's high-throughput NGS platforms, including NovaSeq.

Illumina will undertake a multiyear development effort to integrate SomaLogic's aptamer-based protein counting technology with its NGS and bioinformatics platforms. "Fundamentally, NGS will be used to count each protein," said Alex Aravanis, Illumina's chief technology officer. "There are different ways to work that out, but we will use DNA as a barcode counting system."

"Some feasibility work has been done," he added. "There's no significant technical risk. All the components are worked out. It's about putting it together, optimizing it, making a distributed kit, and adding analysis."

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

SomaScan uses aptamer-based affinity reagents, called Somamers, to measure up to 7,000 different proteins per patient sample. SomaLogic, based in Boulder, Colorado, went public last year through a deal with a special purpose acquisition company.

The new deal furthers the use of Illumina's NGS platforms as a readout for other companies' assays. Olink, another proteomics firm, added NGS-based readout for its proximity extension assays in 2020.

In 2019, NanoString Technologies announced that it would make NGS readout an option for certain spatial transcriptomics assays. The firms also partnered in 2020 to make it possible to analyze GeoMx Digital Spatial Profiler data on Illumina's Dragen Bio-IT platform.

"Proteins play a central role in cellular function and health, and NGS can support a greater understanding of this role by unlocking biological insights at scale," Aravanis said. "We are committed to increasing the utility of NGS, and our partnership with SomaLogic will enable existing and future NGS customers to conduct even more sophisticated, high-throughput multiomic studies."

Illumina expects to launch the first SomaScan-based assays sometime in 2024.

In Thursday morning trading on the Nasdaq, shares of SomaLogic were up 9 percent at $11.18, following a 9 percent dip in Wednesday trading. 

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