Coming in at #9 on our list of most valuable medtech brands, Illumina moved up three spots on Brand Finance's list (from #24 in 2019 to #21 in 2020) of most valuable healthcare brands.
FDA gave Illumina the greenlight to bring the first next-generation sequencing COVID-19 diagnostic test to the U.S. market, which is expected to become a key weapon in the battle against the virus.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the ingenuity that results from the FDA working in partnership with the private sector. Having a next-generation sequencing diagnostic tool available will continue to expand our testing capabilities. Additionally, genetic sequencing information will help us monitor if and how the virus mutates, which will be crucial to our efforts to continue to learn and fight this virus,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD.
The agency issued an emergency use authorization to Illumina for the COVIDSeq Test for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from respiratory specimens collected from individuals suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider. Using next-generation sequencing means that the test can generate information about the genomic sequence of the virus present in a sample, which can be also used for research purposes.
“COVIDSeq leverages the performance of NGS to help address the global need for diagnostic testing to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Illumina CEO Francis deSouza. “Beyond diagnostic testing, Illumina and a number of our customers are exploring NGS-based workflows to enable high-volume screening to support a return to work and school.
Next generation sequencing is a type of diagnostic technology that can determine, among other things, the genetic sequence of a virus. Comparing sequencing results over time can help scientists understand if and how viruses mutate. COVIDSeq uses upper respiratory specimens, including a nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab, and delivers sample receipt to result in 24 hours using the NovaSeq 6000 Sequencing System. Illumina said the differentiated diagnostic design includes 98 amplicons that target the full SARS-CoV-2 genome, creating accurate detection and high sensitivity. COVIDSeq is currently available to a limited number of early access sites and is expected to be more broadly available this summer.