Global in vitro diagnostics manufacturer bioMérieux, Marcy L’Etoile, France, and genomics powerhouse Illumina, San Diego, have announced the launch of bioMérieux EpiSeq, a next-generation sequencing (NGS) service dedicated to the epidemiological monitoring and control of healthcare-associated infections.

The bioMérieux EpiSeq service is the first result of a collaboration agreement signed by bioMérieux and Illumina in November 2014, bringing together the companies’ respective leadership positions in microbiology and NGS to jointly develop applications for microbiology sequencing.


Jay Flatley, Illumina.

The EpiSeq service will provide highly accurate information to health professionals for the characterization of bacteria. By giving hospitals an improved understanding of the genetic markers of virulence and resistance, the service can help them understand how bacteria are transmitted, while enabling better containment of an epidemic, limiting the spread of infectious agents, and improving surveillance approaches.

“We are proud to partner with bioMérieux to bring this first-of-its-kind offering to market,” says Jay Flatley, Illumina CEO. “NGS can be used to better characterize and understand infection-causing bacteria on a whole-genome basis. With the growth of antibiotic-resistant strains, this unique offering couldn’t be more timely or important to the future of public health.”

Hospitals facing a suspected epidemic or health crisis will be able to send bacterial isolates to a service laboratory designated by bioMérieux and equipped with an Illumina MiSeq sequencer. Genomic data will be stored in a secure cloud platform and analyzed using a database and software developed by bioMérieux. Results showing the genomic profile of the infectious agents and the genetic variations identified by sequencing will be sent by bioMérieux to healthcare professionals in a customized, easy-to-interpret report.

Over the years, healthcare professionals have been concerned about the emergence and reappearance of certain infectious diseases, especially when associated with epidemics and severe health crises. In response to such public health challenges, suitable epidemiological surveillance tools must be developed to manage infectious disease risks effectively. Moreover, the bacteria that cause infections often develop antibiotic resistance, and surveillance of these strains is instrumental for infection control efforts.

When used as an epidemiological tool, whole-genome sequencing will enable laboratories to obtain extremely precise information about bacteria believed to be involved in infection transmission or as the cause of outbreaks and epidemics. Sequencing will make it possible to establish a correlation between the different characteristics of an infectious agent, and to determine the chronology of transmission and monitor its spread. This wealth of information will facilitate and speed up decisions by healthcare professionals specialized in infection control in order to take effective measures to limit the spread of these pathogens.


Jean-Luc Belingard, bioMerieux.

The bioMérieux EpiSeq service will first be launched in Europe, followed by North America and Asia. The menu will initially consist of Staphylococcus aureus and will subsequently be expanded to include the other bacterial species most commonly responsible for healthcare-associated infections.

“In line with our pioneering spirit, we are very pleased to be the first company to offer our customers an innovative sequencing solution in bacterial epidemiology. The bioMérieux EpiSeq service addresses major public health challenges, combatting infectious diseases and resistance to antibiotics,” says Jean-Luc Belingard, chairman of bioMérieux. “The launch of bioMérieux EpiSeq marks a new and productive step in our partnership with Illumina for the application of NGS to bacterial genomes. This new offer represents a valuable innovation and opens up new prospects that can bring this revolutionary technology to tomorrow’s healthcare.”

A world leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics for 50 years, bioMérieux offers products that are used for diagnosing infectious diseases, providing high medical value results for cancer screening and monitoring, and for cardiovascular emergencies. Illumina is a global leader in sequencing and array-based technologies, enabling the adoption of genomic solutions in both research and clinical settings. For further information, visit bioMérieux or Illumina.