Illumina has signed up another big pharma - this time Merck Serono - to develop a universal, next-generation sequencing-based cancer test ultimately able to select the right personalised cancer drug for each patient.

In addition to separate collaborations with AstraZeneca, Janssen Biotech, and Sanofi, Illumina and Merck aim to create a universal test system for clinical trials of targeted cancer therapies, with the goal of a more comprehensive tool for precision medicine.

The companies plan to develop assays that detect and measure multiple variants simultaneously to support clinical studies. 

Financial details of the collaboration were not revealed, but it was noted that the deal includes test development, worldwide regulatory approvals and global commercialisation.