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Qiagen, Freenome Partner to Improve Companion Diagnostic Development

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Qiagen said on Thursday that it is partnering with Freenome to develop next-generation sequencing-based companion diagnostics for immuno-oncology.

Under the agreement the companies will pair Freenome's artificial intelligence genomics platform with various Qiagen molecular analysis platforms and co-market the technologies to pharmaceutical companies.

Freenome's AI genomics platform enables sequencing and analysis of multiple analytes to evaluate genomics, proteomic, and epigenetic changes, and integrates resulting data to develop clinically actionable recommendations such as the prediction of response to oncology therapies.

The platform complements Qiagen's bioinformatics platforms and the GeneReader NGS system, Qiagen said, and the combined offerings are expected to help uncover new precision oncology targets and improve therapeutic decision making.

For example, the companies will collaborate on Qiagen's tumor mutational burden (TMB) assay to determine TMB even from very low levels of DNA in a cancer patient's blood, Qiagen said.

Using its AI platform, South San Francisco, California-based Freenome is developing its own noninvasive blood tests to detect early-stage cancer and improve treatments. The company has raised approximately $78 million to date from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Polaris Partners, and Founders Fund.

The Scan

Omicron's Emergence

The World Health Organization has called Omicron a SARS-CoV-2 "variant of concern," the Los Angeles Times writes.

Not as Much

Merck's pill to treat COVID-19 reduces the risk of hospitalization and death among COVID-19 patients by less than previously reported, the New York Times says.

Bats That Hang Together

Discover magazine writes that researchers have found a social microbiome among vampire bats.

PLOS Papers on CEWAS, Simian Varicella Virus Transcriptome, Dermatomyositis Markers

In PLOS this week: multi-omic approach to home in on genetic risk variants, transcriptomic analysis of the simian varicella virus, and more.