Thermo Fisher Joins Cancer Moonshot Effort to Develop Public Blood

Profiling Atlas

As part of its ongoing effort to help advance research in liquid biopsy-based precision oncology, Thermo Fisher agreed to join the White House-led Cancer Moonshot initiative as a group partner in the Blood Profiling Atlas pilot. The long-term goal of the Atlas project is to develop a public database that will make it easier for oncologists to access liquid biopsy information when diagnosing patients.

Thermo Fisher will immediately contribute circulating tumor DNA (ct-DNA) data generated by recent studies that used its research-focused liquid biopsy assays and targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms. This effort is one of 12 studies planned by group partners representing government, academia and pharmaceutical/diagnostic companies.

The Blood Profiling Atlas will allow researchers to access data sets in a scalable and reproducible manner. In parallel, experts representing diverse blood profiling platforms and assays will openly collaborate to analyze the data.

“To accelerate precision medicine in oncology we must encourage open dialogue and collaboration among organizations that share similar goals,” said Joydeep Goswami, president of clinical next-generation sequencing for Thermo Fisher. “We’re honored to be part of this effort and to contribute valuable genetic information provided through our targeted NGS-based technologies.”

Thermo Fisher is already an active collaborator globally in the war on cancer, working with governments and private sector partners alike to support advancements in precision medicine. Active projects include the National Cancer Institute’s Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (NCI-MATCH) clinical trial in the U.S., where the company’s Oncomine reagents and Ion Torrent systems are used to generate the genetic sequencing information. The company is also supporting groundbreaking research by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden to demonstrate the potential of integrating both protein biomarkers and genetic markers in a single test for prostate cancer.

Other efforts underway across Thermo Fisher include a long-term collaboration with Pfizer and Novartis focused on developing and commercializing a multi-marker, universal NGS oncology test that will serve as a companion diagnostic for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Additionally, to meet the growing demand for minimally invasive and less expensive solutions, Thermo Fisher recently introduced the Oncomine Lung Cell-Free DNA (cfDNA) Assay, which is designed to target multiple mutations in NSCLC samples derived from circulating cfDNA in blood.

“Thermo Fisher’s unique breadth of precision medicine solutions enables us to play an important role in initiatives such as the Cancer Moonshot,” said Alan Sachs, chief scientific officer for Thermo Fisher. “From mass spectrometry for protein research to next-generation targeted gene sequencing, we can offer a wealth of technologies, insight and data to make an immediate contribution to the work that other collaborators are already doing.” 

Thermo Fisher’s participation in the White House effort is part of a larger precision medicine effort overseen by Corina Shtir, the company’s head of precision medicine. Shtir is working with businesses across Thermo Fisher in a highly coordinated fashion to bring the industry’s most complete precision medicine portfolio to bear in collaborations such as the Cancer Moonshot and other high-profile efforts globally.