News came this week that the Department of Veterans Affairs awarded Foundation Medicine, a Cambridge, MA- based molecular testing company, a significant contract to provide genomic profiling for veterans helps to validate the growing use of NGS and liquid biopsy for diagnostics.

The contract was reported to be at 111.5 million over five years. It covers several of Roche-owned Foundation’s tests including Foundation One CDx, Foundation One Liquid, Foundation One Heme. These tests provide profiles that can be used in precision cancer, therapy-matching approaches. The VA said the goal of the program is to provide tumor sequencing for all veterans. 60 hospitals reportedly provide specimens for sequencing, with expansion planned. Prostate cancer is a particular target area, because of the need for early detection and treatment action, according to the agency.
“The development is a validation for the use of these tests, and more broadly, for the approach of performing comprehensive analysis, versus single-gene or small gene panel approaches,” said Justin Saeks, Kalorama Information’s Next Generation Sequencing Survey report that the firm published last year.
Kalorama believes it is good news for Roche, with large potential for service revenues; the company has seen its NGS market share slip consistently despite acquisitions and collaborations.

“The company actually had first-to-market advantage initially in the NGS market, but its share diminished over the years as competitors introduced higher performing, more economical systems and continuously provided upgrades,” Saeks said.
For more information, Kalorama Information’s most recent Next Generation Sequencing Market is located at: https://www.kaloramainformation.com/Generation-Sequencing-Instrumentation-Consumables-Services-Competitive-Trends-11594541/

The size and prestige of the VA could even portend an increased tendency towards services for diagnostics testing, sending tests out to labs, as opposed to the common practice of medical centers running NGS tests in-house. This would be more likely for comprehensive analysis, which requires more sequences to be covered than the tests that analyze small sets of genes

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