The 5 Hottest Co-labs in Life Sciences

Collaborations can have amazing results.

When the Wright Brothers put their heads together, they learned how to fly.

When Lennon and McCartney met in 1957, pop music was changed forever.

Watson and Crick figured out the structure of DNA! A pretty important development, especially in the life science space.

Collaborations have long produced some of the most significant developments and discoveries in science, art and engineering. It’s not just people either. Huge benefits can come from businesses doing the same.

Just as two individuals’ skill-sets complement each other and allows them to come up with brilliant ideas, companies can do the same. Sometimes, that collaboration is the best way to offering a more comprehensive product or service offering.

Nowhere is that more true than in the highly complex life science space. Where there are so many differentiating factors in incredibly complex areas, it can be much easier for two businesses to combine their separate expertise than invest the time, money and effort into developing, for example, a new test or assay of their own.

I’ve taken a look at 5 collaborations that are doing just that.

Qiagen & Natera

To help compete with major players Illumina and Thermo Fisher, Qiagen have paid $40M to Natera to bring their non-invasive pre-natal screening tests to its GeneReader NGS system.

Qiagen are becoming a well-known name in the NGS space, albeit with a focus on oncology. Collaborating with Natera enables them to expand their test menu into the pre-natal space without embarking upon a lengthy and extremely costly journey into developing their own version.

Hopefully the $40M in upfront payments combined with the additional $10M in ongoing royalties will see a positive return on their relationship with Natera.

Qiagen & DiaSorin

Another collaboration featuring Hilden-based Qiagen, but this time with their tests going the other way.

In June 2017, Qiagen and DiaSorin signed an agreement for Qiagen to develop new tests for DiaSorin’s LIAISON family of analysers.

The collaboration, targeting the TB and CMV markets, has both companies hoping that by leveraging Qiagen’s testing capabilities, the LIAISON system will be able to strengthen their content portfolio. In turn this should also give both companies greater exposure in hospital laboratories around the world.

Fluidigm & Genomenon

These 2 businesses are looking to accelerate the design of disease-specific NGS genotyping and PCR panels. They hope that this collaboration, announced only this month, will have a significant impact on the time taken to provide expert-level gene panels.

Through utilising Genomenon’s Mastermind Panel Design Service and database alongside Fluidigm’s automated microfluidic system, they’re aiming to reduce the time of target identifying for biomarkers from over a year to just a few weeks.

PATH & SD Biosensor

Driven by an increasing demand for diagnostic tests for malaria, non-profit PATH recently announced their collaboration with South Korean POC specialist SD Biosensor. Their plan is to develop a test to identify a specific gene deficiency synonymous with a relapsing strain of malaria.

The test, which will employ SD Biosensor’s reusable point of care diagnostic device, will be a low-cost alternative to others currently on the market. They will look to identify a deficiency in the G6PD gene in women, who are most susceptible to the condition.

With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK’s Department for International Development, PATH will be assisting SD Biosensor to provide the test at favourable pricing terms to the 2.5 billion people around the world potentially at risk of infection.

BC Platforms & Google Cloud

Bioinformatics is a relatively new field of study (read more about it here) but one that is gaining momentum. In a data fuelled industry like life sciences, giving big pharma and other companies access to the data collected by businesses is a challenge in itself.

That’s why genomic data management and analysis specialists BCS systems have partnered with Google Cloud, to provide their clinical data solutions to global partners. They’ll also be harnessing Google’s AI and genomics tools to further bolster their product offering.

That’s just 5 collaborations I’ve come across. Will any be the Beatles of Life Sciences? Are there any I’ve missed?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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