Thermo Fisher Scientific has partnered with drugmakers Novartis and Pfizer to develop next-generation sequencing-based (NGS) companion diagnostic (CDx) test.

Under the deal, the firms will develop and commercialize a multi-marker, universal NGS oncology test, which will serve as a CDx for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) across multiple drug development programs.

NGS allows testing of multiple genes simultaneously from a single sample, which will help in identifying their unique genetic profile.

The data generated will then be used to guide the appropriate therapy choice among multiple drug candidates.

The NGS-based CDx test for NSCLC will be developed using Thermo Fisher’s Ion PGM Dx system and Oncomine assays.

Both NGS platform and Oncomine reagents are said to leverage the Ion AmpliSeq technology, which allows simultaneous sequencing of hundreds of genes.

The collaboration will also accelerate the development and registration of several new NSCLC drugs and drug indications, in a bid to provide patients with more targeted treatments, as well as access to appropriate clinical trials.

Novartis Oncology oncology development and medical affairs global head Dr Alessandro Riva said: "We look forward to this collaboration and the future potential of this technology to further enhance the ability to connect patients to the right clinical trials and treatments for them, even those patients with less common tumor mutation types."

In October this year, Thermo Fisher Scientific received 510(k) approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its new immunoassay to specifically detect hydrocodone.