Bio Saga Headlines

Bio Saga

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Roche Acquires Nanopore Sequencing Firm Genia Technologies for up to $350M & Sequenom Sells Bioscience Business to Agena for $31.8M

Roche said today that it will acquire Genia Technologies for $125 million in cash and up to $225 million in additional payments tied to milestones. Once the deal closes, Genia will be integrated into the Roche Sequencing Unit.

Genia, based in Mountain View, Calif., has been developing a single-molecule sequencing-by-synthesis technology that uses nanopore-based electrical detection and employs a semiconductor integrated circuit.

Last fall, Genia and its academic collaborators at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology published proof of concept for their NanoTag sequencing technology.

According to Roche, Genia's technology "is expected to reduce the price of sequencing while increasing speed and sensitivity."

Roche has also been working with Pacific Biosciences on developing a sequencing system and assays for clinical diagnostics using PacBio's single-molecule real-time sequencing technology. Last fall, the two companies penned an agreement under which Roche paid PacBio $35 million upfront and could pay up to an additional $40 million in milestones.

Roche first stepped into the next-generation sequencing arena when it acquired 454 Life Sciences in 2007 for $155 million in cash and stock, but it decided last year to phase out that technology by mid-2016.

The company also had research and development partnerships with IBM and DNA Electronics to develop new sequencing technology but discontinued those projects last year.

Sequenom said after the close of the market Friday that it has sold its bioscience business, which includes its MassArray system, to Agena Bioscience for $31.8 million.

Sequenom had said in September that it would conduct a strategic review for the business, formerly called the Genetic Analysis segment, but at the time didn't offer details on the reason for seeking a potential sell off.

"This sale strengthens our balance sheet, and will enable us to focus exclusively on our Sequenom Laboratories business as we work toward achieving profitability," Sequenom Chairman and CEO Harry Hixson said in a statement today.

Sequenom's sales have been increasingly driven by its Sequenom Laboratories business, and in particular its MaterniT21 Plus noninvasive prenatal test for fetal aneuploidy. It recently reported a 20 percent year-over-year increase for its first quarter revenues.

The bioscience business' flagship product is the MassArray system, a mass spectrometry-based platform for measuring genetic target material and variations. It also includes Sequenom's iPlex assay for analyzing multiplex SNPs and somatic mutations.

Agena, a San Diego-based portfolio company of investment firm Telegraph Hill Partners, will pay $31.8 million, but may pay an additional $4 million in contingent consideration based on certain regulatory and sales milestones. It also has assumed certain liabilities of the bioscience business and has taken over the facility lease for that business. Agena also said that it will offer employment to all of the employees of the bioscience business.

Agena also intends to file for US Food and Drug Administration clearance of the MassArray platform with the IMPACT Dx System, for which Sequenom filed a 510(k) application last year.
Piper Jaffray Senior Research Analyst William Quirk pointed out in a research note that the selling price for the bioscience business was below its FY 2013 revenues of $42.9 million and represents a discount from historical diagnostic/life science tools M&A transactions, which generally run around 2x revenues.

"We are encouraged with Sequenom focusing resources in higher margin products (NIPT testing), although we are surprised with the ultimate selling price of the Bioscience business," Quirk said.
In Monday morning trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Sequenom were down 1 percent at $3.03.

Nuclea, Thermo Fisher Collaborating on Mass Spec Assays for Type 2 Diabetes

Nuclea Biotechnologies and Thermo Fisher Scientific said today that they are collaborating on multiplexed mass spec assays for quantifying native insulin and its therapeutic analogs.
Nuclea plans to use the assays to analyze patient samples as part of the company's diabetes research collaborations.

The assays will be developed at Thermo Fisher's Biomarker Research Initiatives in Mass Spectrometry (BRIMS) Center and will be run using Thermo Fisher's MSIA immunoenrichment technology and its TSQ Vantage or Quantiva mass spec instruments.

"We’ve already worked with the BRIMS Center to develop two other very important assays," Nuclea CEO Patrick Muraca said in a statement. "These assays have demonstrated the sensitivity, precision, and robustness needed for high-throughput detection of clinically relevant isoforms of target proteins."

"The real-world application of multiplexed MS-based methods to type 2 diabetes presents an opportunity to advance research in this crucial area," said BRIMS Center Director Mary Lopez. "Nuclea’s proven ability to validate and develop routine assays means our collaboration can support research efforts."

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Qiagen Acquires Biobase Assets

Qiagen has purchased the assets of Biobase, a Wolfenb├╝ttel, Germany-based provider of curated biological databases, for an undisclosed sum.

Qiagen said that Biobase will be renamed Qiagen Wolfenb├╝ttel. Also, Michael Tysiak, BioBase's CEO, will join Qiagen as general manager of the newly purchased company.
Founded in 2007, Biobase provides access to curated data assembled by subject matter experts and organized in an accessible and easy to search manner. Its databases support projects focused on functional and gene regulation analyses, variant annotation, pharmacogenetics-based analysis, and more.

Among its repositories are the Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD), which offers access to information on inherited disease mutations; GenomeTrac, which contains data on pathogenic variants; the PharmacoGenomic Mutation Database, which serves as a resource for locating variants that affect drug response; and the Transcription Factor Binding Sites database, which contains information on eukaryotic transcription factors and miRNAs. The company offers free versions of these to academia — and will continue to do so — and priced versions that are licensed to industry.

Qiagen said that it will continue to market these databases as standalone solutions, and it will also integrate the content they contain into its existing portfolio of informatics solutions including the Ingenuity Knowledgebase, the database of biological interactions and functional annotation information that underlie all the software in Ingenuity's product line. Ingenuity was renamed Qiagen Redwood City after it was bought by Qiagen last year for $105 million.

The Biobase information will also benefit Ingenuity Clinical, a new web-based decision support system for clinical next-generation sequencing tests, which is currently being tested in 20 clinical laboratories as part of an early access program, Qiagen said. As reported by BioInform, the list of testers includes Partners Healthcare, Emory Genetics Laboratory, and GeneDx. Meanwhile, data from the HGMD is already available to customers of Ingenuity Variant Analysis, one of the software assets Qiagen gained through its acquisition of Ingenuity.

With this acquisition, "Qiagen is strategically addressing customers' needs to interpret the massive amounts of data generated by NGS," Qiagen CEO Peer Schatz said in a statement, adding that the content which Biobase provides will extend the firm's "competitive advantage" in the market for clinical interpretation of sequence data.

"Interpretation of sequencing data requires access to high-quality, expert-curated content to be able to quickly and reliably assess the most up-to-date information about variants and associated phenotypes from sequencing data," Madhuri Hegde, executive director of Emory Genetics Laboratory, noted in the Qiagen statement. "Integrating Biobase content offerings such as HGMD and PGMD into Qiagen's growing informatics portfolio and leveraging it with … tools like Ingenuity Variant Analysis and Ingenuity Clinical will be invaluable to clinical labs launching sequence-based diagnostic tests."

In addition to Biobase and Qiagen Redwood City, Qiagen also owns Aarhus, Denmark-based bioinformatics firm CLC Bio. It acquired CCL Bio last year for an undisclosed sum. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

NCBI Seeks Community's Input on Planned Blast Update

The National Center for Biotechnology Information is asking for the bioinformatics community's input on a proposed Blast XMLspecification update planned for release in the summer of 2014.
The update, according to the development team, is intended to improve the consistency of the Blast output with XML standards as well as put in place new and useful elements.
Blast XML users can submit their feedback at this link.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Look Who's Talking Too? It's SAP too talking on Genomics!

SAP has unveiled an early version of a new standalone application based on its SAP Hana in-memory database technology called Medical Insights that integrates and analyzes clinical and genomic data to help oncologists make better treatment decisions for patients.

In addition, SAP has announced a partnership with Canadian firm PHEMI Health Systems to build a solution that would make it possible to provide more personalized treatments for HIV patients.

SAP disclosed the development of both products at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference held this week in Orlando. It is hoping to secure additional early adopters for the newly minted Medical Insights software which it plans to bring to market later this year. The company is still mulling pricing details.

Participants in the company's early access program will have the chance to test and give feedback on a solution that leverages the Hana infrastructure to extract, integrate, and query both structured and unstructured information from tumor and biomarker repositories, patients' electronic medical records, physician's notes, and more. SAP developed the app in conjunction with the German National Center for Tumor Diseases, which is using it internally for testing purposes. By announcing the program at HIMSS this week, SAP hopes to woo a much broader variety of clinical research centers, labs, and hospitals who would be willing to test and validate the system for cancer and other disease applications before it's made broadly available, Enakshi Singh, an SAP product manager for genomics and healthcare said.

Do you wish to know more?

Life Science and Informatics

What is this?
is this a new industry?
or a old wine in a new bottle?

Well Life Sciences and Informatics can be anything form computational biology, all omes and omics, core bioinformatics to curation and literature mining, database creation, in the area of biology, chemistry , bio-chem space.

There are number of companies in India and bangalore is the forefront as a major bio-cluster with 20 to 30 companies in this sphere.

now how good are these companies doing?
how good are they in terms of the international markets and how profitable is their business?
what do they do?
their clients?

These are some interesting things that could be discussed in this blog page...

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