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Illumina (ILMN)-SomaLogic Ink Deal to Advance Proteomics

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Illumina, Inc. (ILMN - Free Report) and SomaLogic have recently signed a definitive co-development agreement to bring the SomaScan Proteomics Assay to Illumina's existing and future high throughput next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms. Researchers can effectively and efficiently make biological connections from the genetic sequence (genotype) to cellular function (phenotype) with the help of the scale and speed of Illumina NGS technology, thereby advancing opportunities for clinical impact. This collaboration is set to bolster the fast-growing high throughput sector of the proteomics market.

Under the terms of the agreement, Illumina will commence a multi-year development effort to combine SomaLogic's protein target volume with its sequencing technologies, informatics toolsets and DRAGEN software to develop a complete end-to-end NGS workflow solution. The development will help researchers to have access to a more cost-effective, high throughput read-out capability for their multiomic assays on the same platform.

The collaboration is likely to boost Illumina's portfolio of sequencing platforms.

Strategic Significance

Although proteomics is a natural extension of genomics, it has been rather difficult to conduct proteomics experiments at scale, with large quantities of proteins (ultra-high plexity) and large numbers of samples (ultra-high throughput). However, Illumina’s recent collaboration will enable researchers to evaluate thousands of samples for more than 10,000 protein targets by combining the power of high-plexity Somascan technology with its existing and future high throughput NGS platforms. Through easy, automated analysis and cost efficiencies, the partnership will gradually expand this capability over time.

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Per Illumina management, proteins play a critical role in cellular function and health. NGS can help form a greater understanding of this role by unlocking biological insights at scale. The collaboration between Illumina and SomaLogic will facilitate and empower proteomics and multiomics research.

Industry Prospects

Per a report published in MarketsandMarkets, the global proteomics market is expected to see a CAGR of 16.6% from 2021 to 2026. Factors such as increased research activity within personalized medicine and drug discovery, greater research and development expenditures by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, rising government funding and technological advancements are driving the market.

While SomaLogic focuses on expanding and innovating its market-leading protein panel, Illumina will accelerate the expansion in proteomics by harnessing the scalability of the NGS platforms and its broad installed base across academic research institutions, medical centers and biopharma companies.

Notable Developments

In December 2021, Illumina began supporting the IMPRESS-Norway study (Improving public cancer care by implementing precision medicine in Norway). The IMPRESS-Norway study is a national precision medicine study aimed at determining the efficacy of blood-based comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) in cancer therapy selection testing. This study will also assess the cost-effectiveness of administering blood-based CGP in the public healthcare system.

In November 2021, the company’s world-class sequencing and bioinformatics solutions was leveraged by HostSeq, a member of the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network, to detect biomarkers that can assist in predicting the potential risk of serious disease and promote the development of novel COVID-19 treatments. The findings from this program will allow researchers and the medical community to better understand the role of human genetics in COVID-19 susceptibility by sequencing the genomes of up to 10,000 patients identified or afflicted by COVID-19 across Canada.

Share Price Performance

The stock has outperformed its industry in the past year. It has declined 0.2% against the industry’s 30.2% fall.

Zacks Rank and Key Picks

Currently, Illumina carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A few better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space that investors can consider are AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. (AMN - Free Report) , Apollo Endosurgery, Inc. (APEN - Free Report) and Abbott Laboratories (ABT - Free Report) . You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

AMN Healthcare, carrying a Zacks Rank #1, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 16.2%. The company’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, delivering a surprise of 19.5%, on average.

AMN Healthcare has outperformed its industry over the past year. AMN has gained 65.8% versus the 55.8% industry decline.

Apollo Endosurgery, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), has a long-term earnings growth rate of 7%. The company‘s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, delivering a surprise of 25.6%, on average.

Apollo Endosurgery has outperformed its industry in the past year. APEN has gained 112.3% compared with the industry’s 1.4% fall.

Abbott, sporting a Zacks Rank #2, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 12%. The company’s earnings surpassed estimates in three of the trailing four quarters and missed in one, delivering an average surprise of 18.5%.

Abbott has outperformed its industry in the past year. ABT has rallied 21.1% compared with the industry’s 8.6% fall.