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

by | May 22, 2018 | Deals-lir, Essential, Laboratory Industry Report

From - Laboratory Industry Report While M&A activity in the wider healthcare industry is heating up deal making in the diagnostics space remains relatively light, not so much in terms of volume but… . . . read more

While M&A activity in the wider healthcare industry is heating up deal making in the diagnostics space remains relatively light, not so much in terms of volume but in size, at least compared to the same period in 2017. Still, the diagnostic industry remains strategically active, particularly in forging new alliances and collaborations. Here is an overview of what happened from late March to mid-April.

The biggest deal of the period, and for all of 2018 so far, was the closing of Roche’s $1.9 billion acquisition of Flatiron Health. The oncology EHR software developer will continue to operate as a separate entity under its current business model while retaining its network of community cancer clinics, academic research centers and therapeutic oncology companies. Also closing was BioMérieux’s acquisition of protein biomarker developer Astute Medical for $90 million in cash.

On April 17, Hong Kong-based Prenetics made a move into consumer genomics by acquiring UK firm DNAFit for $10 million, which will continue to maintain its own brand and London HQ.

Meanwhile, Amarantus Bioscience announced that it has reacquired the rights to three neurology tests from Avant Diagnostics, including MSPrecise, NuroPro and LymPro Test. Under the deal, Amarantus will cancel $722,000 of liabilities owed by Avant and issue it 1 million shares of its common stock. In return, Avant will issue an additional 32 million shares of its common stock to Amarantus to repay the debt.

Strategic Alliances
Key alliances during the period paired leading diagnostic providers with major pharmaceuticals and biopharm companies, including:

  • A pair of deals involving Illumina, one with Bristol-Myers Squibb aimed at developing new companion diagnostics tests for use with drugs in the BMS pipeline, and another with Loxo Oncology for creating sequencing-based pan-cancer diagnostics for Loxo’s targeted oncology drugs;
  • PATH and Mologic’s collaboration to develop and commercialize a rapid diagnostic test for treating Plasmodium vivax malaria; and
  • Personal Genome Diagnostics’s agreement to work with Five Prime Therapeutics to develop a blood-based companion assay for use with the bemarituzumab investigation drug.

Quest Diagnostics was involved in what may have been the most notable deal of the period, at least in terms of the size of the participants, by joining a new alliance with Humana, UnitedHealthcare, Multiplan et al. launching a pilot program aimed at using blockchain technology to promote data sharing leading to, hopefully, watershed improvements in data quality and cost savings across the wider healthcare industry.

Acquiring Company Target(s) Deal Summary
Roche Flatiron Health
  • Price: $1.9 billion
  • Status: Closed
  • Roche already held 13% stake in Flatiron
  • Acquisition of Flatiron’s oncology technology assets boosts Roche’s personalized healthcare infrastructure
Agilent Lasergen
  • Price: $105 million
  • Status: Agreement exercising option to acquire remaining shares of NGS tech firm with no closing date announced
  • In 2016, Agilent acquired a 48% equity stake in company
  • Plan is to combine Agilent’s engineering expertise with Lasergen’s sequencing chemistry to build entire clinical sequencing workflow
  • Newly merged firm to be called LaserGen
Prenetics DNAFit
  • Price: $10 million
  • Status: Closed
  • Acquisition of UK-based wellness genetics company represents entry of Prenetics, known for pharamacogenomics and reproductive testing, into consumer genomics market
Aurora Diagnostics Cascade Pathology Services
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed
  • In addition to Oregon physician-owned multispecialty pathology practice, Aurora acquires Cascade Cytology Reference Laboratories, an affiliated lab providing cytology support services to physician groups
  • Aurora now owns 32 physician practices
BioMérieux Astute Medical
  • Price: $90 million in cash
  • Status: Closed
  • Astute produces tests for identifying and validating protein biomarkers of medical conditions, including Nephrocheck, an FDA cleared test assessing risk of kidney injuries
UCB Element Genomics
  • Price: $30 million, including upfront and short-term success-based milestone payments
  • Status: No closing date announced
  • Acquisition of Duke Univ. biotech spinout bolster UCB’s biopharm development pipeline
  • Element to remain based in Durham, NC, while working with UCB international research teams
Thompson Street Capital Partners (private equity firm) Transnetyx
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: No closing date announced
  • Thompson Street to acquire YX Genomics Holding, the holding company of Transnetyx, lab management services firm YX Services, and robotics company RobotYX
Apax Partners Minority stake in Vyaire Medical held by Becton Dickinson
  • Price: $435 million in cash
  • Status: Expected to close by end of April
  • BD to use proceeds in line with its broader capital allocation strategy and says that divestiture will not no material impact on FY 2018 revenue or adjusted earnings
Mars Petcare OptiGen
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed
  • Mars acquires DNA diagnostics company specializing in canine inherited disorders, exclusive licenses to genetic disease tests and biobank of over 150,000 samples
Partner 1 Partner 2 Deal Summary
Quest Diagnostics Humana
United Health Group’s Optum
  • Objective: Create national alliance to use blockchain technology to improve quality data and cut administrative costs
  • Dynamic: Launch of pilot program evaluating how sharing data across healthcare organization on blockchain technology can improve data accuracy, streamline administration and improve access to care
Mologic PATH
  • Objective: Develop rapid diagnostic test (RDT) to support treating and eliminating Plasmodium vivax malaria
  • Dynamic: International nonprofit PATH to support Mologic in commercializing and getting regulatory approvals for RDT
Illumina Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Objective: Develop companion DX tests for BMS’ cancer drug pipeline
  • Dynamic: Create diagnostic version of Illumina’s TruSight Oncology 500 biomarker assay to run on Illumina’s NextSeq 550Dx platform
Illumina Loxo Oncology
  • Objective: Develop sequencing-based pan-cancer companion diagnostics for two of Loxo’s targeted oncology drugs
  • Dynamic: Companies to use Illumina’s TruSight 170 panel to create test for Illumina’s NextSeq 550Dx platform
  • Plan is to validate NTRK fusions and RET fusions/mutations assays as Class III FDA-approved diagnostic in conjunction with Loxo’s larotrectinib and LOXO-292, respectively
Thermo Fisher Scientific Biocept
  • Objective: Form broad commercial collaboration
  • Dynamic: As first step, Biocept’s lab to validate Thermo Fisher’s Oncomine NGS liquid biopsy panels
  • Thermo Fisher intends to designate Biocept as a Center of Excellence clearing way for oncology liquid biopsy initiatives
Agilent Technologies BioTek Instruments
  • Objective: Develop integrated product for cellular metabolic analysis and imaging
  • Dynamic: Integrate Agilent’s Seahorse XFe96/XFe24 Analyzers with BioTek’s Cytation 1 Cell Imaging Multi-Mode Reader
RTI International PierianDx
  • Objective: Promote PierianDx’s genomics platform
  • Dynamic: RTI also to make undisclosed investment and provide other strategic support to advance PierianDx’s growth plan
DiaCarta MIODx
  • Objective: Develop test to predict immunotherapy response based on MIODx’s ClonoMap immune sequencing technology
  • Dynamic: Test to be developed and validated at DiaCarta’s San Francisco Bay Area and Nanjing, China labs
PerkinElmer Heli
NorthShore University Health System
  • Objective: Develop two new DX applications for Helix’s online genomics marketplace
  • Dynamic: PerkinElmer to develop and launch first app used to report pathogenic variants in 59 genes linked to serious diseases on marketplace
  • NorthShore to apply its genetic risk scoring tech to create method of assigning polygenic prostate cancer risk score on marketplace
PerkinElmer Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council
  • Objective: Promote India-led biomed, biotech and public health startups
  • Dynamic: Parties sign letter of intent agreeing to work together for five years
UgenTec Serosep
  • Objective: Add Serosep’s EntericBio assays to UgenTec’s FastFinder platform
  • Dynamic: Partnership similar to UgenTec’s existing arrangements with MDxHealth, Fast Track Diagnostics and SpeeDx
UgenTec Hamilton Robotics
  • Objective: Remedy lab automation issues in molecular diagnostics industry
  • Dynamic: Launch of New Molecular Automation Network, consortium to promote partnerships facilitating exchange of business and technical info between labs and manufacturers of automated liquid handling workstations, real-time PCR devices and software
  • UgenTec and Hamilton Robotics to exchange technical expertise and integrate their software and hardware systems
IncellDx CellMax Life
  • Objective: Develop and market circulating tumor cell tests
  • Dynamic: CellMax to combine its CTC isolation technology with IncellDx’s BioINK microfluidic reagents
  • Tests to be processed at CellMax’s California lab and jointly marketed in US by CellMax’s sales force
ArcherDX Washington University in St. Louis
  • Objective: Study minimum residual disease in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia patients
  • Dynamic: Researchers to use ArcherDX’s sequencing technology to analyze patients in clinical trial analyzing different treatments of pediatric AML patients with Down syndrome
ArcherDX Ambry Genetics
  • Objective: Provide immune repertoire sequencing services to biopharms
  • Dynamic: Ambry to use ArcherDX’s Immunoverse and VariantPlex NGS assays for immune repertoire sequencing and chimeric antigen T cell receptor manufacturing characterization
Protagen Gustave Roussy Institute of Oncology
  • Objective: Identify biomarkers for immune system-related side effects in cancer patients treated with checkpoint inhibitors
  • Dynamic: Protagen’s SeroTag platform for simultaneously measuring autoantibody levels for different antigens to be used to test cancer immunotherapy patients for markers linked to immune-related adverse events
  • Ultimate goal is to develop risk-profiling test for immunotherapy patients
PathoQuest Charles River Laboratories
  • Objective: Expand previously announced partnership for delivery of NGS services to biologics industry
  • Dynamic: Charles River to directly invest unspecified amount in PathoQuest
Personal Genome Diagnostics Five Prime Therapeutics
  • Objective: Develop blood-based companion DX assay for use with Five Prime’s investigational drug candidate, bemarituzumab
  • Dynamic: PGDx to create and validate circulating tumor DNA test to identify patients eligible for treatment with drug
  • Five Prime to use to select patients for Phase 3 of its registrational FIGHT trial evaluating bemarituzumab in combination with chemotherapy as front-line treatment in patients with advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer with FGFR2 amplification
3D Signatures MDxHealth
  • Objective: Evaluate 3DS’s Telo-PC test for prostate cancer for use on TeloView software platform
  • Dynamic: Companies to share study costs
  • 3DS to also grant MDxHealth an exclusive licensing option for Telo-PC test
Agena Bioscience Simcere Diagnostics (subsidiary of Simcere Pharmaceutical)
  • Objective: Develop and market companion DX and pharmacogenomic tests in China
  • Dynamic: Simcere to develop panels based on Agena’s MassArray mass spectrometry-based genetic analysis system for Chinese market with Agena to provide commercial support
Biodesix Checkmate Pharmaceuticals
  • Objective: Biomarker research studying circulating proteome of patients with advanced melanoma treated with CMP-001 in combination with pembrolizumab
  • Dynamic: Researchers to use Biodesix’s Diagnostic Cortex AI-based biomarker discovery platform
Laboratory Corporation of America Appalachian Regional Healthcare
  • Objective: Form multiyear lab partnership
  • Dynamic: LabCorp Diagnostics to provide technical services for the health system’s hospital-based labs and reference testing for its entire network
  • Appalachian to also gain access to LabCorp Diagnostics’ info technology and data analytics services to improve patient care
GenePOC Primerdesign (molecular testing division of Novacyt)
  • Objective: Develop molecular influenza and respiratory virus assay
  • Dynamic: Primerdesign to develop test for influenza A, influenza B and respiratory syncytial virus to be run on GenePOC’s Revogene instrument
  • GenePOC will to seek CE-IVD marking and FDA clearance for test
Property Owner Distributor Deal Summary
Twist Bioscience Recenttec KK
  • Products: Twist’s synthetic DNA and NGS products including new exome and custom target enrichment product
  • Territory: Japan
Twist Bioscience LnCBio (subsidiary of DNA Link)
  • Products: Twist’s synthetic DNA and NGS products including new exome and custom target enrichment product
  • Territory: Korea
Twist Bioscience Premas Life Sciences
  • Products: Twist’s synthetic DNA and NGS products including new exome and custom target enrichment product
  • Territory: India
Twist Bioscience BioArrow Technology
  • Products: Twist’s synthetic DNA and NGS products including new exome and custom target enrichment product
  • Territories: Hong Kong and Macau
Rellergen Biotech ALK
  • Product: Rellergen Biotech’s Bio-IC allergy diagnostic technology
  • Territory: China
Ortho Clinical Diagnostics Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Products: 14 assays for monitoring therapeutics, immunosuppressants and drugs of abuse for use on Ortho’s Vitros 4600 chemistry system and Vitros 5600 integrated system
  • Territories: North America, Europe, Africa, and Middle East
Interpace Diagnostics Group Acupath Laboratories
  • Products: Interpace’s ThyGenX and ThyraMIR tests
  • Territories: Undisclosed
OncoDNA PromTest
  • Products: OncoDNA’s tumor profiling products
  • Territory: Armenia
Streck Van Xuan Medical Technology
  • Products: Streck’s cell stabilization and molecular products
  • Territory: Vietnam
  • Three-year distribution agreement
Genedrive Arkray Healthcare
  • Products: Genedrive HCV ID kit and platform
  • Territory: India
  • Genedrive responsible for product development, quality management and manufacturing; Arkray responsible for sales, marketing, customer support and distribution in India
Akers Biosciences Diagnostica Stago
  • Product: Akers Biosciences’ PIFA PLUSS RF4 Rapid Assay for heparin-induced thrombocytopenia
  • Territory: US
  • Three-year distribution agreement
Licensor Licensee Deal Summary
SUNY Upstate Medical Quadrant Biosciences
  • Property: Undisclosed epigenetic biomarker technology for autism spectrum disorder
  • Expansion of existing collaboration
Penn State University Quadrant Biosciences
  • Property: Undisclosed epigenetic biomarker technology for concussion and Parkinson’s disease
  • Expansion of existing collaboration
System Biosciences Qiagen
  • Property: SBI’s ExoQuick exosome isolation technology for research use
  • Worldwide, non-exclusive
  • Qiagen to use technology in its precipitation-based miRcury Exosome Kits, complementing its spin column-based exoEasy and exoRNeasy products
Supplier/Servicer Client/User Deal Summary
Owlstone Medical AstraZeneca
  • AstraZeneca gets access to Owlstone’s Breath Biopsy Services to help in identifying breath-based biomarkers and classification algorithms for COPD with aim of identifying disease phenotypes and the best treatments
Theradiag Biogaran
  • Theradiag to supply its Lisa Tracker monitoring kits for use in monitoring responses to biosimilar drugs sold by Biogaran

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