Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, Mass, has signed an agreement with the Institute of Pathology Heidelberg (IPH) to establish a center of molecular pathology at Heidelberg University Hospital.

The hospital is the newest member of Thermo Fisher’s next-generation sequencing companion diagnostics center of excellence program. The initiative focuses on forging strategic collaborations with European-based organizations that can lead studies using Thermo Fisher’s Oncomine portfolio of research panels. The panels are destined for development as companion diagnostics, to help drive precision oncology in the region.

Working in collaboration with pharmaceutical partners and Thermo Fisher, the IPH center of molecular pathology will be headed by Albrecht Stenzinger, MD, senior consultant pathologist. The center will conduct studies and clinical trials under the leadership of Peter Schirmacher, MD, director of IPH.

The institute is also the site of Germany’s largest tissue biobank, featuring a sophisticated laboratory information management system that has incorporated Thermo Fisher’s Ion Torrent bioinformatics software.

“Molecular pathology is a multidimensional and rapidly evolving field where high-level expertise ranging from genetics to trial design and close collaborations are the key for innovation that ultimately benefits patients,” Stenzinger says. “Liquid biopsies, genetic biomarkers guiding immunotherapy approaches, and clinically exploitable genetic themes that are shared by many cancer types—such as DNA repair deficiency—are currently the most exciting and promising areas for diagnostic applications and will keep us busy in assay development, daily diagnostics, and clinical trials.”

The IPH center of molecular pathology is the second organization to join Thermo Fisher’s center of excellence program, after the Institute of Medical Genetics and Pathology at University Hospital Basel, which joined in April.

Joydeep Goswami, Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Joydeep Goswami, Thermo Fisher Scientific.

“With an ever-increasing number of drugs coming to market, scalable detection of clinically relevant biomarkers that enable targeted therapies, and the use of agents modulating the immune system, will be the key for successful implementation of precision oncology,” says Joydeep Goswami, president of clinical next-generation sequencing and oncology for Thermo Fisher Scientific. “We are committed to companion diagnostic development and will continue on this path with leading global organizations that share our vision of a healthier world.”

For more information, visit Thermo Fisher Scientific.