Research & Development

Thermo Fisher and Pfizer collaborate on NGS-based cancer tests

Scientific equipment provider Thermo Fisher and US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer have announced a collaboration to advance next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based cancer testing.
Historically, single gene testing has been used to match patients with appropriate targeted therapies, however this can be time-intensive due to the possible need for sequential tests and lack of tissue available, which may mean extra biopsies. NGS screens a single tumour tissue or blood sample for multiple biomarkers simultaneously, meaning clinical teams can access genomic insights quickly and effectively and therefore prescribe the right treatment faster.
The joint effort will aim to bring NGS testing to more than 30 countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia where advanced genomic testing is lacking or not available.
As part of this, Thermo Fisher will highlight suitable local labs and implement NGS technology for breast and lung cancer testing, offering training, infrastructure and quality control measures. Pfizer will explore affordable patient access for these types of cancer and raise advanced testing awareness.
Gianluca Pettiti, executive vice president at Thermo Fisher Scientific, commented: “Anyone facing a cancer diagnosis should have access to cutting-edge testing that can match them with an appropriate, optimised treatment plan and better inform their care. Today, we aim to bring rapid NGS testing to an increased number of decentralised labs, closer to where patients are treated. We are moving one step closer to delivering precision insights to underserved patients so they can receive a more tailored path for their care no matter where they are in the world.”
Nick Lagunowich, Pfizer’s global president of Emerging Markets, said, “The more we understand the complex science behind cancer, the better we can treat it. Our experience has taught us that cancer cannot always be treated with a broad brush and often requires an individualised approach based on precise disease characteristics. In many parts of the world, access to NGS may be limited or unaffordable for cancer patients. This programme aims to improve their treatment journey and help increase their chances for improved outcomes.”