By Stephanie Murg, Managing Director, G2 Intelligence
In the wake of its fizzled May IPO, OpGen (Gaithersburg, Md.) is in expansion mode. The microbial genetics analysis company has agreed to acquire molecular diagnostics company AdvanDx (Woburn, Mass.) in an all-stock merger deal that gives OpGen a set of FDA-approved rapid molecular tests for blood cultures. Additionally, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (Merck GHI), a majority stockholder in AdvanDx, has invested $6 million in OpGen.
Founded in 2002 by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation to develop and commercialize whole-genome mapping for microbial analysis, OpGen is focused on diagnostics for multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. The company operates a CLIA-certified laboratory offering services including the Acuitas multi-drug resistant organism (MDRO) gene test. Launched last year, it tests seven MDRO genes from one patient swab.
With the acquisition of AdvanDx, which had 2014 revenue of approximately $4.8 million, OpGen gains the line of FDA-approved QuickFISH products that provide rapid identification and differentiation of Gram-negative species and other blood pathogens. Other AdvanDx products include tests run on the company’s peptide nucleic acid fluorescence in situ hybridization (PNA FISH) platform and its new XpressFISH phenotypic assay for resistance markers.
“The acquisition of AdvanDx strengthens OpGen’s portfolio of rapid molecular tests for combating drug resistant infections, while providing additional avenues to sell our Acuitas tests,” said OpGen Chairman and CEO Evan Jones in a statement announcing the merger deal. “Together we will be able to combine rapid organism ID capabilities with best in class drug resistance testing.”
That combination will be fueled in part by a $6 million cash infusion from Merck GHI. The financing was announced on the same day as the AdvanDx deal. In connection with the investment, David M. Rubin, Ph.D., managing director of Merck GHI, joined OpGen’s board of directors.