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Diagnostic Deals: A Roundup of the Key Mergers, Acquisitions, Alliances, Licenses and Other Strategic Transactions From the Past Month

Based on the early returns, the market analysts that predicted 2018 would see a slowdown in strategic Dx deal making appear to be right. But while deal volume was low on both the M&A and alliance front, there were a few splashes.

M&A
February witnessed the first major new M&A deal of 2018, Roche’s announced $1.9 billion acquisition of Flatiron Health, a NYC-based oncology electronic health records. Roche Pharmaceuticals CEO Daniel O’Day called the purchase, which is scheduled to close in the first half of 2018, "an important step in our personalized healthcare strategy," citing Flatiron’s positioning "to provide the technology and data analytics infrastructure needed not only for Roche, but for oncology research and development efforts across the entire industry."

Qiagen and Quest Diagnostics also got on the 2018 M&A board, the former by announcing its entry into the multiplex infectious disease testing market via acquiring Barcelona-based PCR technology firm STAT-Dx for a purchase price of up to $197 million. Meanwhile, Quest boosted its mobile services capabilities by announcing plans to purchase Mobile Medical Examination Service for an undisclosed price.

One industry giant you should not expect to see a lot of on the M&A front in 2018 is Abbott, which said that it plans to spend the year absorbing the huge debts it took on as a result of last year’s spending spree including, of course, the Alere merger. But investors showed no signs of concern with Abbott’s $20 billion in long-term debt, especially after the firm announced earnings way above expected levels—both for the fourth quarter and all of 2017. While the 52% and 32% growth rates, respectively, were ballooned by the Alere deal, comparable operations-basis growth was also rock solid at 7% for Q4 and 5% for the year.

Strategic Alliances
After a furious January, alliance-making and partnership activity hit the skids this month in terms of both deal volume and value. Among the few notables:

  • Quest’s agreement to offer Thermo Fisher Scientific’s non-small cell lung cancer panel via its Texas oncology center of excellence and under which Quest will have preferred access to Thermo Fisher’s Oncomine-branded clinical and biopharma technology pipeline;
  • The collaboration spun out of last year’s acquisition of Ambry Genetics by Konica Minolta pitting Ambry and Konica-owned Invicro aimed at developing customized genomics and imaging services for development of new oncology drugs and biotechnology applications; and
  • The partnering of Mayo Clinic with informatics firm SkylineDx designed to leverage the former’s proprietary algorithm for metastasis risk factor identification to develop new tests to guide clinical decision making for melanoma treatment.

Here’s a summary of the key diagnostic deals from late January through most of February:

MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS & ASSET SALES
Acquiring Company Target(s) Deal Summary
Roche Flatiron Health
  • Price: $1.9 billion
  • Status: Expected to close in first half 2018
  • Roche already 13% stakeholder in Flatiron
  • Acquisition of Flatiron’s oncology technology assets boosts Roche’s personalized healthcare infrastructure
Qiagen STAT-Dx
  • Price: Up to $191 million—$147 million cash + milestone payments of up to $44 million
  • Status: Expected to close in Q2 2018
  • Qiagen enters multiplex infectious disease testing market by acquiring Barcelona-based developer of real-time PCR technology for molecular NGS simultaneous detection of oncology, respiratory, gastrointestinal and other infections
LGC Lucigen
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed
  • LGC acquires Wisconsin-based producer of molecular biology enzymes, reagents and kits
Eurofins Scientific Labo Van Poucke
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed
  • Eurofins gets into Belgian market by acquiring local family-owned lab with €5 million ($6.2 million) in 2017 revenues
Quest Diagnostics Mobile Medical Examination Service
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Expected to close Q1 2018
  • Acquiring provider of home-based health risk assessments and related services expands Quest’s position in home and mobile services
DiscernDx Applied Proteomics
  • Price: $1.85 million
  • Status: Closed
  • Liquidation sale in which DiscernDx acquires all assets of San Diego-based proteomics firm launched in 2007
Elsevier
(part of RELX Group)
Via Oncology
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed
  • Elsevier acquires Pittsburgh-based provider of decision support and cancer care management services
STRATEGIC ALLIANCES, PARTNERSHIPS & COLLABORATIONS
Partner 1 Partner 2 Deal Summary
Thermo Fisher Scientific Quest Diagnostics
  • Objective: Offer Thermo Fisher’s Oncomine Dx Target Test diagnostic panel for non-small cell lung cancer
  • Dynamic: Quest to perform test at its Lewisville, Texas oncology center of excellence
  • Quest to also have early access to Thermo Fisher’s pipeline of novel platforms and assays to assist with development of Oncomine-branded solutions for clinical and biopharma applications
Roche Wisconsin Diagnostic Laboratories of Milwaukee
  • Strategic alliance
  • WDLM named Roche Molecular Center of Excellence
Science Exchange OnRamp BioInformatics
  • Objective: Deliver bioinformatics services and tools
  • Dynamic: Science Exchange to provide R&D support to OnRamp Bio for its user interface, automated analyses and genomic data management products
Somalogic Leeds Centre for Personalised Medicine and Health
  • Objective: Research capacity of protein measurements to impact patient care in different clinical areas
  • Dynamic: Leverage Somalogic’s SomaScan proteomic platform to measure large numbers of proteins in blood and other patient samples
  • Latest step in Somalogic’s larger strategy to develop SomaScan as clinical tool
Sciex IROA Technologies
  • Objective: Provide system for identification and quantitation of metabolites in biological samples
  • Dynamic: Joint promotion of system that combines IROA’s workflow for isotopic ratio outlier analysis with Sciex’s Swath data-independent acquisition workflow on next-generation metabolomics and Triple- TOF systems
Medidata Syapse
  • Objective: Develop products to improve patient access to oncology clinical trials
  • Dynamic: Partners to initially focus on creating products to help trial sponsors design eligibility criteria, identify community health systems trial sites and find patients to enroll in trials
Syapse Seoul National University Hospital + Megazone
  • Objective: Deliver precision oncology services to Asian market—S. Korea, Japan, Vietnam
  • Dynamic: Seoul National University Cancer Hospital to install Syapse data-aggregation platform in its 28 centers across Korea
  • Megazone, an Amazon Web Services consulting partner in Asia, to provide IT support
Agilent Science Exchange
  • Objective: Promote access to Agilent-enabled services to global research community
  • Dynamic: Create new, privacy-protected online portal that Agilent customers can use to search and request a quote for Agilent-enabled research services directly from Agilent.com
  • Science Exchange’s verification program used to qualify listed providers
  • Partners to co-market new portal starting Feb.
Agilent University of Southern California Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience
  • Objective: Create an Agilent Center of Excellence in Biomolecular Characterization
  • Dynamic: Center will be place where scientists and engineers can work together on multidisciplinary approaches to improve healthcare through new drugs, diagnostics and medical devices
Ambry Genetics Invicro
  • Objective: Offer customized genomics and imaging services for biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, with specialized focus on oncology and neurodegenerative diseases
  • Dynamic: Combine Invicro’s imaging services and software with Ambry’s genomics services
  • Both firms owned by Konica Minolta via latter’s 2017 acquisition of Ambry but operate as independent subsidiaries
Avalon GloboCare Da An Gene (China)
  • Objective: Accelerate exosome-based in vitro diagnostic product development and commercialization
  • Dynamic: Strategic alliance combining Avalon’s exosome technology with Da An Gene’s proprietary core technology platform of fluorescent-quantitative PCR diagnostic reagents
Oxford Biodynamics Holos Life Sciences
  • Objective: Develop non-invasive epigenetic biomarkers linked to sports-related concussions
  • Dynamic: Holos to supply participants’ blood samples and Oxford to provide its EpiSwitch epigenetic biomarkers development platform which partners will use to establish and monitor epigenetic changes and potential physiological reprogramming caused by a sports-related concussion
Access Bio Atomo Diagnostics
  • Objective: Provide point-of-care HIV testing in global markets
  • Dynamic: Atomo to make its AtomoRapid lateral flow platform availabe for use with Access Bio rapid test detecting HIV antibodies from single drop of blood from a fingertip
Foundation Medicine European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
  • Objective: Provide cancer genomic profiling tests to determine patient eligibility for clinical trials
  • Dynamic: Foundation Medicine to use its genomic profiling assays to provide testing services for EORTC’s Screening Patients for Efficient Clinical Trial Access (SPECTA) program
Biodesix Colorado Cancer Center
  • Objective: Develop a blood-based assay to identify non-small cell lung cancer patients likely to respond to certain immunotherapies
  • Dynamic: CU Cancer Center research lab to analyze prospectively collected tissue samples with matched plasma from NSCLC patients
  • Biodesix to use results in its development of test for PD-L1
SkylineDx Mayo Clinic
  • Objective: Develop diagnostic tests to improve clinical decision-making for melanoma patients
  • Dynamic: Leverage Skyline’s informatics expertise to further optimize Mayo Clinic algorithm identifying risk factors for metastasis
Nebion Qlucore
  • Objective: Provide data analysis support for clinical research
  • Dynamic: Deepening of collaboration began in 2014 allowing for combined use of Qlucore’s Omics Explorer and Nebion’s Genevestigator by scientists for data storage, pre-processing, analysis, interpretation and comparisons with public datasets, among other applications
PlexBio Denka
  • Objective: Accelerate detection of infectious disease and multidrug resistance
  • Dynamic: Expand existing collaboration to include codevelopment of a molecular diagnostic platform for infectious disease testing
  • New system to leverage PlexBio’s multiplex πCode MicroDisc technology and initially focus on tests for sepsis and multidrug resistance
Prometheus Research Stanford University
  • Objective: Create genetic registry as part of sleep medicine study
  • Dynamic: Prometheus to join and collate highly disparate data from multiple sources in support of Stanford Technology Analytics and Genomics in Sleep (STAGES) study collecting and analyzing sleep data alongside biological samples from 30,000 patients
Tempus NYU School of Medicine
  • Objective: Develop personalized pancreatic cancer treatments
  • Dynamic: Tempus to analyze data from roughly 500 pancreatic cancer patients and use NGS tests to generate additional genomic data to identify genetic patterns for use in predicting patient response to different therapies
  • Recent academic collaborators of Tempus include Vanderbilt, Ohio Univ., Univ. of Penn. Abramson Cancer Center and Mayo Clinic
Biocartis Immunexpress
  • Objective: Develop Immunexpress’ Septicyte tests for use on Biocartis’ Idylla platform
  • Dynamic: Tests based on biomarker signatures that gauge response of patient’s immune system to infections
  • Immunexpress to lead commercialization, starting with US and Europe
UgenTec MDxHealth
  • Objective: Develop artificially intelligent software to support interpretation of molecular test results for MDxHealth’s ConfirmMDx and SelectMDx prostate cancer tests
  • Dynamic: "This [automation step] will… also provide our SelectMDx IVD customers with an advanced software they can use [to] support and standardize drafting of result reports," according to MDxHealth CEO
DISTRIBUTION, SALES & MARKETING AGREEMENTS
Property Owner Distributor Deal Summary
SenzaGen Eurofins BPT Munich
  • Products: SenzaGen’s GARD skin allergy tests
  • Territory: Global
  • Covers both GARDskin allergic contact dermatitis test, and GARDpotency add-on test subcategorizing sensitizing compounds as strong/moderate/non-sensitizing
OncoDNA NM Genomix
  • Products: OncoDNA’s tumor profiling products (specific products not disclosed)
  • Territory: Bulgaria
OncoDNA Genext
  • Products: OncoDNA’s OncoDeep solid tumor test, OncoTrace and OncoSelect liquid biopsy tests, OncoStrat& Go solid and liquid biopsy combination, OncoKDM data interpretation and reporting software
  • Territory: Russian Federation
BioPorto Roche
  • Product: BioPorto’s neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) test for use on Cobas c 501 and Cobas c 502 analyzers
  • Territory: Global
BioGx Launch Diagnostics
  • Products: Assays produced by BioGx’s European subsidiary
  • Territories: UK, Ireland
BioGx AxonLab
  • Products: BioGx’s entire CE-IVD product line, plus laboratory-use-only products
  • Territories: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Slovenia, Switzerland, Croatia
Sysmex McKesson Medical- Surgical
  • Product: Sysmex’s new automated hematology analyzer
  • Territory: Not disclosed
  • Exclusive distribution deal
VHLGenetics PharmaDNA
  • Products: Genetic assays
  • Territories: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
VHLGenetics Progènes
  • Products: Animal applications
  • Territory: France
VHLGenetics Agrotis
  • Products: Genetic assays under Laboratory Genetics and Services brand name
  • Territory: Italy
VHLGenetics Inno Laboratório Veterinário
  • Products: Cat and dog products
  • Territory: Portugal
Amoy Diagnostics Medikonia
  • Products: Amoy Diagnostics’ molecular diagnostic tests
  • Territories: Macau, Hong Kong
Technogenetics Immunodiagnostic Systems
  • Technogenetics’ automated assay kits for detecting and monitoring autoimmune and infectious diseases
  • Territory: Global
  • 10-year term
  • Products to be sold under IDS brand
Lucigen GeneSuz Biochemical & Genetics
  • Products: Not specified
  • Territory: Turkey
Lucigen Diagnostech
  • Products: Not specified
  • Territory: South Africa
Lucigen Albiogen
  • Products: Not specified
  • Territory: Russia
Lucigen Gene Target Solutions
  • Products: Not specified
  • Territory: Australia
LICENSES
Licensor Licensee Deal Summary
Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry DNA Script
  • Property: Novel DNA building block for use in enzymatic DNA synthesis
  • Exclusive
University of California, San Francisco Vela Diagnostics
  • Property: Two methods for enriching rare sequences
  • Vela to use the technologies to develop oncology and infectious disease tests, including for cell-free DNA and RNA testing and microbiology tests
SUPPLY, SERVICE & TESTING AGREEMENTS
Supplier/Servicer Client Deal Summary
Thermo Fisher Scientific OpGen
  • OpGen to use Thermo Fisher’s real-time PCR technology in its Acuitas AMR Gene Panel tests
Abbott Angle
  • Abbott to supply PathVysion HER-2 DNA FISH kits for Angle study investigating analysis of circulating tumor cells
  • Aim of Angle study is to demonstrate that its Parsortix system can be used to harvest CTCs from blood of metastatic breast cancer patients
Illumina Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
  • Illumina to provide noninvasive prenatal testing to women with average-risk pregnancies
  • Value-based contract under which Harvard Pilgrim will cover NIPT for average-risk pregnancies and Illumina will reimburse Harvard Pilgrim if one-year costs of testing exceed pre-established baseline
Exosome Diagnostics FedMed
  • Exosome Diagnostics to provide its ExoDx Prostate test via FedMed, a US PPO with 40 million members as a covered benefit
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