The center will be physically located within the GHS Institute for Translational Oncology Research (ITOR) as part of an on-going collaboration to facilitate the introduction of complex biomarker analysis into routine cancer patient management. This represents a long-standing commitment from the local oncology community and Lab21 to introduce state-of-the-art next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology as part of its growing translational medicine clinical services portfolio in the US.
“Bringing this leading-edge technology to the cancer clinic represents a significant breakthrough and the culmination of a seven-year journey,” said Dr. Joe Stephenson, medical director for ITOR. “This genomics center is another major step towards fulfilling our vision to provide personalized cancer care – better enabling us to offer the right drug, at the right time, to the right patient.”
The establishment of this center was facilitated through a strategic relationship with Life Technologies who are providing their new Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine as the key launch platform technology. Michael Bolick, President of Lab21 Inc., explained “we conducted extensive due diligence on the underpinning technology for the center and are confident that our engagement with Life Technologies will enable us to offer a comprehensive and cost-effective NGS service to the oncology community.”
Lab21’s CEO, Graham Mullis, said: “This is a major step forward for Lab21 in North America and we are delighted to be working with Dr. Joe Stephenson and the team at ITOR in this fast changing market of personalized medicine. The establishment of this center underlines our commitment to our personalized medicine strategy and to introduce state-of-the-art molecular services and products into North America. It also reinforces our relationship with ITOR and the potential to use this technology for clinical trial applications with a view to identifying new biomarkers which can subsequently build our proprietary companion diagnostic portfolio. Importantly, it marks our intention to utilize this NGS technology in other therapeutic areas in addition to oncology. Lab21 is a company with an established business in infectious diseases, particularly virology, and we are already negotiating new contracts to exploit this expertise using NGS technology.”