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Recently, a HiSeq X Ten sequencing system of Illumina Inc. (ILMN - Analyst Report) was acquired in China by a genomics service provider, Novogene. This marks yet another milestone within Illumina’s current expansion strategy in emerging markets.

The HiSeq X Tenis the world’s first platform to deliver full coverage human genomes for less than $1,000. This also includes typical instrument depreciation, DNA extraction, library preparation and estimated labor. It can sequence tens of thousands of samples annually with high-quality, high-coverage sequencing. It is sold as a set of 10 or more ultra-high throughput sequencing systems.

With this Illumina product, Novogene – as one of the major service providers in the field of cancer genomics and mapping human disease genes, will be able to conduct population sequencing. This integration will help both the companies expand in the fast-growing and still untapped market of cancer and genetic disease research in China.

Last month, Illumina announced its strategic plans to drive growth focusing on three major areas. The first is reproductive health, for which Illumina seeks to expand its portfolio by providing the verifi laboratory-developed non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT). The second focus area is oncology, to cater to which Illumina aims to provide good infrastructural facilities and test guidelines for effective cancer genomics solutions.

Further, Illumina is set to enter emerging markets – its third focus area – where it plans to launch a human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing product in mid-2014. Additionally, the company introduced the MiSeq Forensic Genomics System (MiSeq FGx), the first targeted forensic next-generation sequencing (NGS) system, which will simultaneously interrogate short tandem repeats and other valuable genetic markers to provide more comprehensive identification information from both challenging and standard biological samples. The complete sample is expected to be available in the first half of 2014.

We are optimistic about Illumina’s expansion strategy through the enhancement of its portfolio of sequencing products, and development of strategic partnerships with therapeutics and diagnostic services providers. In Jan 2014, Illumina signed an agreement with Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (LH - Analyst Report) whereby the latter gained expanded rights to use Illumina’s NGS platform and microarray equipment and supplies to develop and market laboratory-developed tests.

In the same month, Illumina inked a deal with Amgen Inc. (AMGN - Analyst Report) to develop and market a multigene NGS-based test to be used as a companion diagnostic for Amgen’s cancer treatment, Vectibix. In January, Illumina also entered into a strategic partnership with Quest Diagnostics Inc. (DGX - Analyst Report) allowing the latter to use its MiseqDX platform and related reagents for molecular laboratory-developed tests. Currently, Illumina has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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