NantOmics Acquires OncoPlex Diagnostics

A diagnostic firm connected with a Los Angeles billionaire making a run to remake cancer care has acquired a Maryland-based clinical laboratory that specializes in testing tumor cell proteins.

NantOmics acquired OncoPlex Diagnostics earlier this month. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. NantOmics and its affiliated companies have been providing funding to OncoPlex since 2008, and it had an undisclosed stake in OncoPlex prior to purchasing the remainder of its shares.

OncoPlex Diagnostics holds a proprietary capability to solubilize tumor cell proteins from FFPE tissue that can then be examined through mass spectrometry analysis, officials said. Its addition is expected to expand NantOmics’ genomic decoding capability. The company also performs more commonplace molecular testing as well, including protein expression assays for breast, gastrointestinal and lung cancers, as well as HPV-linked testing for head and neck cancers.

The umbrella company, Culver City, Calif.-based NantHealth, raised $320 million last year, a record for a genomics company. Its Clinical Operating System platform is a combination of molecular science, near real-time patient signal monitoring and the use of large-scale data analytics.

"OncoPlex brings to NantOmics unique, proprietary technology that provides clinically relevant and highly accurate quantitative test results for patients with cancer," said Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., the founder of NantWorks, another NantOmics’ affiliate, in a statement. "With this integration, we have added state-of-the-art discovery tools and a complementary array of molecular diagnostic services and tests. More importantly, we have enhanced our ability to deliver patient-specific pan-omic information and, ultimately, improve disease diagnosis and therapy."

Soon-Shiong, who is L.A.’s richest resident and a part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, made his fortune through the founding of two pharmaceutical firms, Abraxis and American Pharmaceutical Partners, which he eventually sold for more than $9.1 billion. He also played a role in the creation of the drug Abraxene, which plays a significant role in fighting pancreatic cancer.

Takeaway: NantOmics and NantWorks have added a specialty laboratory to its genomic decoding repertoire.

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