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Illumina (ILMN) to Address Nasopharynx Cancer With New Pact

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Illumina, Inc. (ILMN - Free Report) recently collaborated with National Cancer Center Japan for an international joint research project that will utilize Illumina's high-throughput DNA sequencing to assess the blood-based genomic profile and clinical information of patients living with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The study will be referred to as part of the Asian Multicenter Prospective Study of Circulating Tumor DNA Sequencing (A-TRAIN).

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a rare tumor of the head and neck which originates in the nasopharynx and has a higher incidence rate in Asian countries. More than 80% of new cases occur in Asia and it is ranked ninth among incident cancer and eighth among cancer deaths in Southeast Asia.

The recent development is likely to strengthen Illumina’s foothold in the fastest growing oncology space.

More on the A-TRAIN Study

The A-TRAIN study led by the National Cancer Center Hospital Japan is an international joint research project in several Asian countries to create treatments based on genomic abnormalities for cancer common in Asia.

The project includes research involving patients who have cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, ovarian clear cell carcinoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, endometrial cancer and breast cancer. In this study, genomic analysis of blood samples of around 96 patients with nasopharynx cancer will be evaluated using Illumina's TruSight Oncology 500 ctDNA.

Significance of the Collaboration

Per Illumina’s management, through cumulative joint efforts, the organizations will fuel initiatives that enhance health outcomes for people living with nasopharynx cancer and advance the development of personalized treatment, especially those in the Asian community where this carcinoma is the most common.

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Over the next year, the resulting data of patients evaluated using Illumina's TruSight Oncology 500 ctDNA will be used by the Japan-led initiative to establish a platform for international collaborative trials with Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam, which are actively promoting cancer treatment development in the Asian region.

Industry Prospects

Per a report by Mordor Intelligence, the nasopharyngeal cancer market is expected to witness a steady CAGR of 2.7% by 2027.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) 2018 report, there were about 129,000 new cases of nasopharyngeal cancer in 2018. Moreover, it is estimated that about 50,455 new cases of nasopharyngeal cancer will occur by 2040.

Recent Collaborations

In January 2022, Illumina and SomaLogic 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.

In the same month, Illumina entered into a partnership with Syapse to evaluate large panel biomarker testing patterns across the U.S. community oncology practices. The collaboration will explore the real-world uptake and actionability of comprehensive genomic profiling in patients with advanced cancer.

Price Performance

Shares of the company have lost 20.6% in a year compared with the industry's fall of 40.7%.

Zacks Rank and Key Picks

Illumina currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

A few better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space that investors can consider are AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. (AMN - Free Report) , Henry Schein, Inc. (HSIC - Free Report) and West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (WST - Free Report) .

AMN Healthcare, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), has a long-term earnings growth rate of 16.2%. The company surpassed earnings 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 37% versus the 60.9% industry decline.

Henry Schein has an estimated long-term growth rate of 11.8%. HSIC’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 21.86%. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.

Henry Schein has gained 7.6% compared with the industry’s 4.3% rise over the past year.

West Pharmaceutical has a long-term earnings growth rate of 27.6%. West Pharmaceutical surpassed earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, delivering an average surprise of 29.4%.

West Pharmaceutical has outperformed its industry over the past year. WST currently carries a Zacks Rank of 2.