Yesterday Illumina and Qiagen announced a 15 year deal to partner on development of NGS in vitro diagnostic kits to run on Illumina sequencers. And Qiagen, more quietly, announced that development of the GeneReader platform will cease. The second piece of news is unsurprising; I’d written about Qiagens purchase of the Intelligent Bio-Systems technology that GeneReader was built on back in 2012. Back then I’d written that it was “not clear if a Qiagen sequencer can compete against Roche, Life and Illumina in the research or clinical space”…oh how much has changed since 2012!
Qiagen has been flogging the GeneReader sequencing system since 2015, but not very successfully, against a much more dominant Illumina and a second-place Thermo Ion Torrent in the clinical space. So the move to work more closely with Illumina rather than continue to develop the IBS technology is unsurprising and suggests someone won the battle internally to focus on the most likely opportunity for growth of their “Sample to Insight” portfolio i.e. the assay kits. Essentially, Qiagen has decided to focus on selling razor blades leaving Illumina to sell the razors. Qiagen will also be involved in commercialisation of Illumina’s TruSight Oncology assays (TSO500). And they get access to Illumina’s MiSeq Dx and NextSeq 550Dx systems as well as future clinical sequencing systems Illumina might launch: NovaSeq Dx at JP Morgan?