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Roche Acquires GenMark in $1.8 Billion Deal

Industry Playbook: May 2021

Roche Acquires GenMark in $1.8 Billion Deal

Roche and GenMark Diagnostics have entered into a merger agreement in which Roche will fully acquire GenMark for $1.8 billion.

Through the acquisition, Roche aims to expand its portfolio of molecular diagnostics with GenMark’s expertise in syndromic testing. The companies believe that GenMark’s ePlex systems will enhance Roche’s work in managing infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance. The ePlex platform is designed to detect multiple pathogens from a single rapid test and a patient sample, allowing clinicians to determine a cause of infection and prescribe treatment within hours.

“The rapid identification of bloodstream infections and the detection of antimicrobial resistance genes are more essential than ever for hospitals and their patients,” said Thomas Schinecker, CEO of Roche Diagnostics. “Acquiring GenMark Diagnostics will broaden our molecular diagnostics portfolio to include solutions that can provide lifesaving information quickly to patients and their healthcare providers in the fight against infectious diseases.”

GenMark’s offerings also will complement Roche’s portfolio of COVID-19 diagnostic solutions, as Roche will gain access to GenMark’s Respiratory Pathogen Panels, which identify the most common viral and bacterial organisms associated with upper respiratory infection, including SARS-CoV-2. GenMark in return will broaden commercialization of its products through Roche’s worldwide network of consumers.

The acquisition was unanimously approved by the board of directors of Roche and GenMark. Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will receive all outstanding shares of GenMark’s common stock. The companies have agreed to $24.05 per share for an all-cash deal.

CareDx and BFS Molecular Merge for Transplant Monitoring

CareDx, a precision medicine company focused on transplant patients, has acquired BFS Molecular, a posttransplant surveillance company.

CareDx offers a number of services to transplant patients that include genetic matching solutions, human leukocyte antigen typing technologies, and digital healthcare solutions designed to personalize care from the beginning to the end stages of transplant procedures. Similarly, BFS Molecular focuses on transplant patients by using next-generation sequencing (NGS) to monitor the health of transplanted organs and stem cells over time. Through the acquisition, CareDx will gain access to BFS Molecular’s software and algorithms.

BFS Molecular has developed the StemScan assay for posttransplant chimerism detection in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients, and the OrganScan assay for donor-derived DNA detection in solid organ transplant patients. According to the company, the NGS data from both assays is processed and analyzed by their Graftrack software to produce a clear picture of each transplant patient over time.

By acquiring the Graftrack software, CareDx aims to advance its AlloSeq cfDNA NGS-based transplant monitoring test and its AlloSeq HCT chimerism testing kit.

Companies Sign $2.9 Million Deal for COVID-19 Risk Test

Genetic Technologies and Infinity Biologix (IBX) have signed a $2.9 million agreement for IBX to commercialize the Australian-based company’s COVID-19 risk test in the U.S. The terms of the agreement also state that IBX will be hands-on in the production, distribution, sales, and marketing of the test.

According to the companies, the risk assessment test, which the companies have agreed to brand “GeneType,” will have the ability to determine whether patients are at risk of developing severe disease if diagnosed with COVID-19. Through a questionnaire and saliva-based genetic analysis, the test will combine patients’ clinical risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer status, and age with their genetic information to determine the probability of their conditions deteriorating.

Before building the risk test, Genetic Technologies conducted a large-scale study of 7,500 patients known to be infected with SARS-CoV-2. The company studied the genetic profiles of infected patients to assess any patterns associated with people who had a more severe response. The company then used the genetic markers to develop risk models for disease severity.

The companies state that IBX currently has the capacity to process more than 100,000 risk tests a day between its two U.S.-based labs. Both parties agreed to a  three year deal under which IBX will pay Genetic Technologies $50,000 upfront, followed by minimum payments of $850,000 in the first year and $1 million in the second and third years.

Biocept and Aegea Biotechnologies Aim for New High-Sensitivity SARS-CoV-2 Assay

Biocept and Aegea Biotechnologies are teaming up for the development of a highly sensitive, next-generation polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay for detecting SARS-CoV-2. The companies plan to design the test based on Biocept’s expertise with its Switch-Blocker technology, which is currently used in assays for rare oncology-related genetic mutations in large numbers of clinical samples.

With this new assay, the companies are aiming to increase the sensitivity for detecting SARS-CoV-2 and the various strains of the virus.  According to the partners, the test will detect low copy numbers of viral RNA, potentially enabling it to detect the virus at much lower levels than current PCR-based tests. The companies also state that the test will be capable of distinguishing SARS-CoV-2 from other coronaviruses.

Though the companies are currently focusing on COVID-19, the agreement includes plans to expand the highly sensitive PCR assay potentially to detect other infectious diseases as well.

IDT Gains Swift Biosciences for Advanced Research in NGS

Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) has announced acquisition of Swift Biosciences to combine IDT’s next-generation sequencing (NGS) products with Swift’s established portfolio of library preparation kits for more efficient research methods.

Since the company’s first foray into NGS products in 2013, Swift has worked to develop its library of NGS preparation kits to maximize data output, provide comprehensive coverage, and reduce sequencing costs for academic, translational, and clinical research. With IDT’s experience in developing and manufacturing nucleic acid products for academic and commercial research, agriculture, medical diagnostics, pharmaceutical development, and synthetic biology, the companies believe the acquisition will be valuable for both parties.

“Swift’s research tools are being used for cancer, inherited disease, and other health applications, as well as research in agrigenomics, metagenomics, and the biotech/pharmaceutical industry,” said Trey Martin, president of IDT. “Their broad portfolio of library preparation and enrichment products are highly complementary to IDT’s existing NGS product line, giving us an increased ability to provide gold standard offerings to researchers and to be well positioned for future growth.”