Illumina unveiled TruSeq Amplicon last week, which is a cancer panel to aid researchers to sequence cancer loci. This is significant since this makes sequencing possible even in difficult samples such as formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded (aka FFPE) tumor samples. The San Diego-based company is taking orders for the device, shipment of which will begin next month.

Dr. Andrew Fellowes of the Department of Pathology at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia believes that the TruSeq cancer panel on the MiSeq system will enable them to profile tumor samples for a wider range of mutations. Moreover, this technology improves upon both speed and accuracy.

The introduction of TruSeq Amplicon – Cancer Panel is in sync with Illumina’s recently created Translational and Consumer Genomics business, which is focused on delivering genomic solutions to CLIA labs. This business is already working to develop targeted resequencing panels for both MiSeq and HiSeq systems, building on the current TruSeq Amplicon and TruSeq Enrichment assays.

The company has been in the news over the recent past as Roche commenced a tender offer to purchase Illumina’s outstanding shares. Earlier, Roche had made several unsuccessful attempts to strike a deal with Illumina, but the latter refused to participate in any substantive discussion.

Illumina introduced HiSeq 2500, a new multi-mode next-generation sequencer earlier this year, which is slated for launch in the second half of 2012. The DNA sequencing market is getting more competitive as Life Technologies’ Benchtop Ion Proton Sequencer is expected to hit the market in mid-2012. These devices can sequence a human genome in a single day rather than weeks. In addition, Illumina is also working on developing its MiSeq platform further.

Illumina has entered into a partnership with Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics to use the MiSeq platform for Siemens’ molecular HIV tests.