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

As the calendar turned to 2018 and Medicare turned to PAMA, diagnostic deal making revved up. Deal volume was relatively heavy although short on drama. But what looks to be a big year is just beginning.

Continuing recent patterns, most of the month’s M&A action focused on the acquisition of molecular diagnostic companies including the tying up of a loose end from the Abbott-Alere merger. To make the deal happen, Alere sold its Triage business to Quidel. The package included The Summer Ridge campus which Quidel flipped to Alexandria Real Estate Equities for $148.7 million in a sale-leaseback that will allow Quidel to stay in the campus’s four buildings for 15 years.

On Dec. 19, Siemens Heathineers completed its purchase of Fast Track Diagnostics (FTD), which produces CE Mark approved tests for infectious disease detection, acquiring over 80 platform-agnostic assays and syndromic panels for its Siemens’ Versant kPCR Molecular System test menu. FTD and its 80 employees will be folded into the Siemens Healthineers’ business while continuing to operate under the FTD brand name.

Other notable M&A deals in the molecular space included:

  • Roche’s $27 per share tender offer for Ignyta, a developer of precision medicine cancer treatments guided via diagnostic tests, as part of a merger agreement between the two firms;
  • Biocrates Life Sciences’ agreement to acquire Metanomics, the Austriabased metabolomics biomarker developer, for an undisclosed price. The deal "will enable us to provide deep metabolic phenotyping through targeted metabolomics profiling services, customized assays, targeted screening kits, and comprehensive data interpretation," noted Biocrates’ CEO;
  • The acquisition of metagenomics technology developer Radiant Genomics by Zymergen; and
  • Mars Petcare’s acquisition of Finnish animal molecular diagnostics developer Genoscoper Laboratories.

Meanwhile, a pair of potential blockbusters not directly involving labs are expected to have major repercussions on diagnostics, including Becton Dickinson’s $24 billion acquisition of device maker C.R. Bard, which closed on Dec. 29, and CVS’ proposed $69 billion purchase Aetna. Stay tuned…

Strategic Alliances
The same three patterns that shaped strategic alliances in 2017 drove deal making in January, namely Biopharm/Dx collaboration, product integration and academic research. With regard to the former, no company was more active than Pfizer, which in addition to new collaborations with Foundation Medicine for cancer companion diagnostics and Berkeley Lights for nanofluidics platform development was one of the five pharmaceutical companies to enter into a pre-competitive consortium with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals aimed at sequencing exomes of UK Biobank participants. Other notable Dx/Biopharm collaborations included:

  • Merck KGaA + HTG Molecular Diagnostics which agreed to expand a deal originally designed to develop companion diagnostics for Merck’s investigational BTK inhibitor M7583 to other drugs;
  • AstraZeneca + Myriad Genetics to codevelop companion tests for Astra- Zeneca’s PARP inhibitor Lynparza and Avastin; and
  • Rhythm Pharmaceuticals + WuXi NextCode to create new treatments for rare obesity-related genetic disorders.

Significant product integration deals included collaborations of Qiagen with DiaSorin, Illumina with Thermo Fisher, and 10x Genomics with MGI.

Arguably, the month’s sexiest deals were the partnerships pairing lab companies with corporate tech giants from outside the world of diagnostics, including GE which partnered with Roche to develop clinical decision support software and Microsoft which announced it was working with Adaptive Biotechnologies to map human immune system genetics for use in developing early stage cancer detection blood tests.

Here’s a graphic summary of the key diagnostic deals from late November to mid-January:

Acquiring Company Target(s) Deal Summary
Becton Dickinson C.R. Bard
  • Price: $24 billion cash ($317 per share) and stock
  • Status: Closed Dec. 29, 2017
  • To gain FTC approval, BD must sell its soft tissue core-needle biopsy product line and CR Bard must sell its Aspira tunneled home drainage catheters and accessories products line
Roche Ignyta
  • Price: $27 per share for all outstanding shares of Ignyta common stock
  • Status: Due to close in first half 2018
  • Cash tender offer made under Dec. 21 merger agreement by Ignyta and Roche
Agilent Technologies Luxcel Biosciences
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed
  • Agilent expands its cell analysis portfolio via acquisition of Luxcel, which produces real-time fluorescence plate reader-based cell assay kits
  • Agilent entered cell analysis market in 2015 with acquisition of Seahorse Bioscience
Siemens Healthineers Fast Track Diagnostics
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed Dec. 19, 2017
  • Target to continue operating under FTD name
Thermo Fisher Scientific Phenom-World
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed Jan. 5, 2018
  • Thermo Fisher to integrate Phenom-World, a Netherlands-based electron microscopy producer, into its analytical instruments segment
Quidel Summers Ridge campus
  • Price: $148.7 million, including $142 million in immediately available net cash
  • Status: Closing of sale included as part of Quidel’s acquisition of Triage from Alere
Zymergen Radiant Genomics
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed
  • Zymergen to use Radiant’s platform combining sequencing, bioinformatics, synthetic biology and other technologies to identify and commercialize novel molecules for uses in healthcare, chemicals and agriculture
  • Zymergen to keep Radiant’s entire team intact
Centre Lane Partners Alternative Biomedical Solutions
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed December 2017
  • Investment firm acquires Texas-based ISO-certified mass spectrometry, toxicology and chemistry measurement systems supplie
Biocrates Life Sciences Metanomics
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Agreement reached with no closing date announced
  • Merger of Austria-based Biocrates which produces metabolomic kits and Berlin-based Metanomics, which features novel metabolite-based cancer and cardiometabolic clinical biomarkers
  • Merged firm to provide deep metabolic phenotyping via targeted metabolomics profiling services, customized assays, targeted screening kits and comprehensive data interpretation
Maravai LifeSciences Glen Research
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed
  • Maravai acquires Virginia-based provider of DNA and RNA synthesis reagents
GenScript Biotech CustomArray
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Agreement of GenScript to acquire 100% of CustomArray’s issued shares with no closing date announced
  • GenScript acquires CustomArray’s oligonucleotide synthesis and microarray manufacturing technology and expertise
Mars Petcare Genoscoper Laboratories
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed Dec. 27, 2017
  • Genoscoper is a Finnish animal molecular diagnostics company
Partner 1 Partner 2 Deal Summary
Roche GE
  • Objective: Develop clinical decision support software
  • Dynamic: Data pooling—partners to create joint-branded dashboards combining data from each firm’s diagnostics and medical scanners to help oncology and critical care teams make better, faster decisions
Adaptive Biotechnologies Microsoft
  • Objective: Map genetics of human immune system for early stage detection of cancers and other diseases from single blood test
  • Dynamic: Combine Adaptive’s immune sequencing technology with Microsoft’s research and large-scale machine learning and cloud computing capabilities
  • Microsoft also makes unspecified financial investment into Adaptive
Qiagen HTG Molecular Diagnostics
  • Objective: Assay clinical trials development
  • Dynamic: Expansion of existing master assay development and commercial agreement to third project involving NGS assay being developed by unnamed pharma company
Qiagen DiaSorin
  • Objective: Combine Qiagen’s QuantiFeron-TB diagnostic test with DiaSorin’s Liaison automated analyzers to develop fully automated version of QuantiFeron test readout components that can be used with QFT-Plus
  • Dynamic: Launch CE-marked version of new QuantiFeron readout components for use on Liaison XL in 3Q 2018, with US availability in 2019
  • To also launch new tests in China in 2020
Thermo Fisher Scientific Illumina
  • Objective: Make Thermo Fisher’s AmpliSeq chemistry compatible with Illumina’s sequencers
  • Dynamic: Allow Thermo Fisher customers to use AmpliSeq on Illumina instruments for research only
  • Illumina to sell product directly to its customers under name AmpliSeq for Illumina
  • Thermo Fisher retains right to make AmpliSeq technology available on other NGS platforms and keep selling AmpliSeq kits to its own sequencing customers for both research and diagnostic uses
10x Genomics MGI (subsidiary MGI of BGI)
  • Objective: Make MGI sequencers compatible with 10x Genomics’ Chromium system
  • Dynamic: BGISEQ-500RS system is now compatible with Chromium, and firms plan to make MGISEQ sequencers compatible before MGI begins shipping them to customers in February
Curetis MGI (subsidiary MGI of BGI)
  • Objective: Commercialization of NGS-based infectious disease testing technology
  • Dynamic: Combine Curetis’ Unyvero Lysator-based sample preparation technology and MGI’s NGS to create fully automated workflow for processing any type of native clinical sample with subsequent NGSbased detection of microbial pathogens and genetic markers for antibiotic resistance
  • MGI to reimburse Curetis for supporting workflow integration and transferring technology and pay technology access fees, and royalties on product sales
10x Genomics Berry Genomics
  • Objective: Offer new sequencing-based technology for non-invasive prenatal testing in China
  • Dynamic: Partners to develop services leveraging technology for using linked-read sequencing for haplotyping of cell-free fetal DNA in maternal plasma for prenatal diagnosis to be offered by Barry Genomics in Chinese market
WuXi AppTec Mayo Clinic Laboratories
  • Objective: Offer Mayo-developed tests in China
  • Dynamic: Form new joint venture JV leveraging Mayo’s lab testing expertise in combination with WuXi AppTec’s lab and manufacturing services
BGI Federation of Shenzhen Commerce
  • Jointly develop BGI Global Innovation Center
Illumina KingMed Diagnostics (China)
  • Objective: Develop NGS-based oncology and hereditary disease tests for China market
  • Dynamic: Partners to codevelop system based on Illumina’s MiniSeq technology and KingMed’s library prep kits
Oncimmune Genostics
  • Objective: Commercialize and manufacture Oncimmune’s EarlyCDT autoantibody-based diagnostics products in China
  • Dynamic: License giving Hong Kong-based Genostics exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute EarlyCDT (and develop future) products in China
  • Genostics also agreed to buy approximately 6.4 million new Oncimmune shares at a 49% premium (£1.56 per share) and gets seat on Oncimmune’s board of directors
NanoString Technologies Riken Genesis (subsidiary of Sysmex)
  • Objective: Bring NanoString’s nCounter-based diagnostic tests to Japanese market
  • Dynamic: Work together to commercialize, register and gain reimbursement for companion diagnostic tests, including lymphoma subtyping test to be marketed as the nCounter Dx LymphMark assay
Biocartis Amgen
  • Objective: Develop companion diagnostic biomarker tests on Biocartis’ Idylla platform for new Amgen compound treating solid tumors
  • Dynamic: Second Biocartis second recent CDx agreement between firms following Dec. 2017 agreement to seek FDA premarket approval for Biocartis’ Idylla KRAS Mutation Test and Idylla NRAS-BRAF Mutation Test as companion diagnostic tests for Amgen’s Vectibix (panitumumab)
IDbyDNA Locus Biosciences
  • Objective: Develop companion diagnostic Dynamic: Use IDbyDNA’s Explify NGS platform to develop companion test for use in selecting patients for Locus’ LBx-PAO1 antimicrobial product clinical trial
Myriad Genetics AstraZeneca
  • Objective: Drug/DX codevelopment
  • Dynamic: AstraZeneca to use Myriad’s myChoice HRD Plus diagnostic panel in clinical trial to identify advanced ovarian cancer patients who respond best to combined maintenance treatment of AstraZeneca’s PARP inhibitor Lynparza (olaparib) and Avastin (bevacizumab)
HTG Molecular Diagnostics Merck KGaA
  • Objective: Drug/DX codevelopment
  • Dynamic: Expand existing companion diagnostic agreement between the firms covering Merck’s investigational Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor M7583 to other drugs and to earlier stages of research process, including custom assay development programs
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals *AbbVie
*Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
  • Objective: Sequence exomes of all 500,000 UK Biobank participants by end of 2019
  • Dynamic: Pre-competitive consortium in which AbbVie, Alnylam, AstraZeneca, Biogen and Pfizer to each contribute $10 million
  • Regeneron to provide undisclosed amount of its own funding, and Regeneron Genetics Center to conduct the sequencing
  • Other companies may also join consortium
Foundation Medicine Pfizer
  • Objective: Develop companion diagnostics for Pfizer oncology therapies
  • Dynamic: New assay to be added to FoundationOne CDx, Foundation’s recently FDA approved solid tumor genomic profiling assay
  • Pfizer also gets access to Foundation’s FoundationInsights platform for biomarker discovery and clinical trial design
Berkeley Lights Pfizer
  • Objective: Advance development of Berkeley Beacon platform and streamline Pfizer workflows
  • Dynamic: Combine Berkeley’s light-based nanofluidics platform for single-cell selection, characterization, culture and export with Pfizer’s expertise in gene editing, sequencing, molecular biology and B-cell screening
WuXi NextCode Rhythm Pharmaceuticals
  • Objective: Development therapies for treating rare genetic disorders of obesity
  • Dynamic: Rhythm to leverage WuXi’s deep learning capabilities to identify key genetic markers for rare metabolic syndromes
Two Pore Guys Maxim Integrated Products
  • Objective: Develop analog signal-processing technologies for 2PG’s handheld MoM solid-state nanopore diagnostic testing platform
  • Dynamic: Maxim has invests unspecified amount in 2PG via its Maxim Ventures branch
OneOme PWNHealth
  • Objective: Give PWNHealth patients access to OneOme’s RightMed pharmacogenetics test via firm’s website without the need to talk to a doctor first
  • Dynamic: PWNHealth clinical team to review request for test and health information patient provides
  • If test approved, a licensed, independent physician will order it
  • When test results are ready, patient must schedule phone or video consult with a PWNHealth licensed genetic counselor trained in pharmacogenetics to discuss results
Celsee IncellDx
  • Objective: Co-commercialization of Celsee products including 20-marker lung cancer genomics and proteomics panel, CTC-based screening test for breast, colorectal, prostate and other cancers, and a cell-based NIPT assayNantHealth’s GPS Cancer molecular analysis test to conduct study on samples collected by NantHealth
  • Dynamic: Deal follows successful completion of feasibility study assessing PD-L1 expression in lung cancer biopsy and blood specimens using IncellDx OncoTect iO Single Cell Quantitative PD-L1 assay and the Celsee C-Prep Genesis platform
Celsee Zomedica
  • Objective: Develop Celsee’s liquid biopsy platform for veterinarians to use as a cancer diagnostic
  • Dynamic: 7-year exclusive under which Zomedica is responsible for assays’ clinical development and commercialization
  • Celsee to supply Zomedica the assays and consumables on an exclusive basis in the veterinary market
  • Zomedica to pay Celsee up-front fees of $500K and issue Celsee unregistered common shares having a value of $250K
Ovation Coriell Life Sciences
  • Objective: Product integration
  • Dynamic: Combine Ovation’s data management and Coriell’s reporting technologies into a single platform for sample and workflow management, genetic data interpretation and client communication
IQuity Analyte Health
  • Objective: Expand access to IQuity’s IsolateMS multiple sclerosis detection test
  • Dynamic: Patients will be able to access test immediately via Analyte’s Health Test Express website
Datavant Global Genomics Group (G3)
  • Objective: Develop new models for designing drug development clinical trials
  • Dynamic: Newly launched Datavant to use its artificial intelligence-driven Clinical Trial Cloud to support G3’s G3LOBAL database
Datavant Verge Genomics
  • Objective: Develop new models for designing drug development clinical trials
  • Dynamic: Datavant to provide Verge analytics tools and access to 150 different data sources
Indivumed Salk Institute
  • Objective: Cancer research
  • Dynamic: Multi-year strategic alliance under which Indivumed will support Salk researchers in planning and acquiring annotated cancer biospecimens for research projects
Datavant Duke Clinical Research Institute
  • Objective: Develop new models for designing drug development clinical trials
  • Dynamic: Datavant to provide DCRI analytics tools and access to 150 different data sources
GeneDx (subsidiary of Opko’s BioReference Laboratories) Radboud University Medical Center (Netherlands)
  • Objective: Identify novel genes and pathways to explain causes and manage symptoms of genetic diseases
  • Dynamic: GeneDx to expand its diagnostic exome sequencing study cohort of patients with developmental delay or intellectual disability with approximately 3,000 additional cases from Radboud
Premier Biosoft Florida International University
  • Objective: Develop mass spectrometry-based data analysis software for lipidomics research use
  • Dynamic: Premier to work with FIU researcher to create lipidomics workflows using mass spec technologies to help Premier improve data interpretation, heuristics and product databases
Veritas Genetics Mayo Clinic
  • Objective: Make whole-genome sequencing available to masses
  • Dynamic: Veritas to integrate Mayo’ Center for Individualized Medicine expertise into its myGenome WGS platform
  • Mayo to offer myGenome sequencing test in study of healthy adults
  • Mayo also takes unspecified ownership stake in Veritas
Tempus Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC)
  • Objective: Develop personalized cancer treatments
  • Dynamic: Use Tempus O informatics platform to collect and structure clinical data from VICC’s electronic health records
  • Tempus to also perform NGS analysis to identify gene alterations in VICC patients
  • Recent academic collaborators of Tempus include Ohio Univ., Univ. of Penn. Abramson Cancer Center and Mayo Clinic
Tempus CancerLinQ and Precision HealthAI
  • Objective: Develop clinical databases for oncology use
  • Dynamic: CancerLinQ responsible for data integration and providing platform to oncologists and oncology care sites
  • Tempus and Precision HealthAI responsible for further structuring dataset and working with industry partners to generate practical applications
Property Owner Distributor Deal Summary
IncellDx Premas Life Sciences
  • Products: IncellDx’s immune-oncology and oncology single cell products including OncoTect, HPV E6/ E7 mRNA detection assay and IncellPrep preparation kit
  • Territory: India
  • Exclusive
  • IncellDx named GIMDx exclusive distributor in China in Dec. 2017
VHLGenetics Weatherbys Scientific
  • Products: VHLGenetics’ genotyping and mutation detection assays for animals such as cats and dogs
  • Territories: UK, Ireland and US
ThermaGenix MilliporeSigma (US operation of Merck KGaA’s life science business)
  • Products: ThermaGenix’s ThermaStop, ThermaGo and ThermaStop-RT reagents for PCR improvement
  • Territory: Global distribution agreement
Licensor Licensee Deal Summary
NRGene Syngenta
  • Property: NRGene’s GenoMagic genome analysis platform
  • Non-exclusive
KeyGene University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Property: KeyGene’s patented sequence-based genotyping (SBG) technology
  • Scope: Global
  • UW-Madison gets right to offer SBG services in all species to its research collaborators and clients worldwide
Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) Desktop Genetics
  • Property: TIDE, NKI’s TIDE, a web-based tool that quantifies efficacy of genome-editing methods and identifies the predominant types of insertions and deletions in targeted pool of cells
  • Scope: Global
  • Exclusive
New York Genome Center BioLegend
  • Property: NYGC’s CITE-seq technology for cellular indexing of transcriptomes and epitopes by sequencing, for research use
  • Scope: Global
  • Exclusive
IntegraGen GoPath Laboratories
  • Property: Test based on IntegraGen’s proprietary miR-31-3p biomarker
  • Scope: GoPath to commercialize test in US and Canada (already available in Europe)
  • Non-exclusive
Circulogene Circulogene Saglik (Turkish lab and subsidiary of GGT Global Genetik)
  • Property: Circulogene’s liquid biopsy technology
  • Scope: Parts of Europe, Africa, Middle East, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan
  • Exclusive
Supplier/Servicer Client Deal Summary
Cota Baptist Health South Florida
  • Cota to help build precision medicine and research programs at new Miami Cancer Institute
Theradiag MSD France
  • Theradiag’s Lisa Tracker monitoring kits to be referenced in supply contracts for Merck’s immunosuppressant Remicade (infliximab) made by MSD France in France
  • Theradiag to not only supply and implement kits but also train lab personnel in their use

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