Silicon Biosys­tems Menarini and Macrogen said today they will partner to co-develop clinical assays and procedures for precision medicine in cancer.

The companies said their collaboration would combine Silicon Biosystems' DEPArray™ digital-sorting technology with Macrogen's whole-genome, whole-exome, and targeted sequencing capabilities, with the goal of developing CLIA-certified genomic cancer assays.

DEPArray is designed to resolve cellular heterogeneity of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) biopsies and fine-needle aspiration (FNA) samples. According to Silicon Biosystems, DEPArray is capable of delivering 100% pure cancer- and tumor-negative control cells—as well as other key cellular elements such as tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes—from FFPE tumor samples.

“Pure cells provide exact answers about all kinds of genomic variation and instability from the level of targeted cancer panels up to the whole-genome level, making DEPArray sorting and sequencing an unparalleled tool for precision patient stratification,” Silicon Biosystems president and CEO Giuseppe Giorgini said in a statement. “Through DEPArray sorting, we can help rescue samples with a very low number of tumor cells, such as FNA and low-cellularity FFPE samples.

A wholly owned subsidiary of the Menarini Group, Silicon Biosystems Menarini is based in San Diego and Bologna, Italy.

Macrogen, based in Seoul, South Korea, is expected to provide technical support for the somatic variant analysis of cancer cells through its next-generation sequencing expertise as well as its clinical research capabilities. The company is currently running two systems (20 instrument units) of Illumina’s HiSeq X Ten, providing whole-genome sequencing service worldwide. Macrogen also has a CLIA-certified laboratory, MCL, in Rockville, MD.

Macrogen Chairman Jeong-Sun Seo, M.D., Ph.D., added, “This collaboration between Macrogen and Silicon Biosystems Menarini for the development of tumor-cell-specific cancer somatic variants analysis will bring the critical benefit of precision medicine to cancer patients in urgent need sooner than we expected.” 

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