AlmacAlmac Diagnostics, the global personalised medicine company, focusing on the discovery, development and commercialisation of complex diagnostic and companion diagnostic tests, has announced that it has been selected by the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) as its preferred partner for molecular profiling of cancer patient samples collected by EORTC clinical trials, including SPECTA (Screening Patients for Effective Clinical Trial Access), a pan-European Cancer network.

The ambition of EORTC is to streamline patient inclusion in clinical trials of molecularly targeted treatment, gaining efficiency from reliable centralised molecular testing.

In addition, EORTC seeks to standardise Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and Gene Expression Analysis in translational research projects, enhancing reproducibility and comparability of results.

Almac Diagnostics will receive and process patient samples across multiple disease types from various locations across Europe, using the new Illumina Trusight Tumor 170 solid tumor NGS panel to analyse patterns of genomic variation within patient samples. The company will provide this service from its European facility in Craigavon, Northern Ireland.

The output of the analysis by Almac Diagnostics will contribute to the SPECTA database, which will be an invaluable resource to the oncology community in terms of therapeutic development and identification of novel biomarkers of response and prognosis as well as diagnosis of cancer patients. This will ultimately lead to the development and commercialisation of future companion diagnostics.

Michael Sloan, VP of Commercial Operations at Almac Diagnostics, said: “The SPECTA Programme is a unique cancer research initiative enabling personalised medicine through its key collaborations across Europe. We are proud to have been chosen by the EORTC as a partner of choice for the molecular profiling of these valuable SPECTA samples and excited by the opportunities the generation of this data will provide to improve patient care.”

Vassilis Golfinopoulos, EORTC Medical Director, said: “This agreement with Almac Diagnostics is one of several key partnerships EORTC has established to further develop the SPECTA infrastructure. Through the Illumina Trusight Tumour 170 solid tumour NGS panel and pipeline, EORTC seeks to improve substantially all stages of therapeutic agents development, from early clinical assessment to refinement of targeted molecular indications.”

John Leite, PhD, Vice President of Oncology at Illumina, said: “Illumina believes that TruSight Tumour 170 can become the standard across the industry for how cancer-relevant genetic variants are identified and, through the research done by SPECTA, lead to new diagnostics that will guide precision oncology decisions. The next step in this realisation is to provide efficient access for patients to molecularly driven clinical trials. This is the goal of the collaboration between Almac Diagnostics and the EORTC, which Illumina fully supports.”