In This Issue...

bioMérieux Signs Agreement to Acquire BioFire

bioMérieux has inked a deal to buy BioFire Diagnostics, Inc. for $450 million plus BioFire's net financial debt. A molecular biology company that specializes in PCR technology, BioFire developed and produces the multiplex PCR FilmArray system. FilmArray takes a novel approach to diagnosing infectious diseases that involves analyzing a syndrome, or set of symptoms, and using a single reagent to identify the viruses or bacteria causing the syndrome. Its test menu currently includes respiratory and sepsis panels, with gastrointestinal and meningitis panels under development. Within the next 3 years, company officials predict FilmArray will detect more than 70 disease agents.

"This new acquisition enables us to reinforce our infectious diseases franchise, our main area of specialization," said Jean-Luc Belingard, chairman and CEO of bioMérieux. "In all markets, we now have a complete portfolio of particularly innovative technologies with two key benefits: enhanced medical value of diagnostics and optimized workflows in medical laboratories."

The acquisition is expected to wrap up by the end of bioMérieux's fiscal year on December 31 or in early 2014.

Gene by Gene, Arpeggi Merger to Focus on Genetic Testing 

Gene by Gene, Ltd. has acquired Arpeggi, Inc. for an undisclosed sum with the aim of making next-generation DNA sequencing and clinical genomics accessible and affordable to all. "We are on a mission to transform healthcare by dramatically speeding up the process, and reducing the costs, of genetic tests, which today are often far too expensive for the average consumer," said Max Blankfeld, managing partner of Gene by Gene. Gene by Gene was the first company to develop consumer DNA testing products for ancestry and genealogy applications, while Arpeggi specializes in solutions for genome sequencing, data management, and computational analysis.

Inova, GNS Healthcare Partner to Reduce Risk of Preterm Birth

The Inova Translational Medicine Institute (ITMI) and GNS Healthcare have entered a collaboration to develop computer models that predict the risk of preterm live birth using next generation sequencing and electronic medical record data. The two companies will use GNS's data analytics platform to construct these models from ITMI's database, which includes normal birth and preterm birth family cohorts. By linking genetic and molecular factors with clinical data and health outcomes, the models will identify the underlying causes of preterm birth and allow for personalized prediction of preterm birth risk and gestational length.

"We see this work in preterm birth as a first step toward building similar prediction models for other complex diseases, such as autism, diabetes, and obesity, supported by ITMI's massive familial whole genome sequence databases," said Joe Vockley, PhD, chief operating officer and chief scientific officer of ITMI. "Prediction followed by prevention is a key component of translational medicine."

Once the models are developed, ITMI and GNS plan to commercialize them and corresponding software along with optional access to the underlying ITMI data.

SeraCare Buys KPL

SeraCare Life Sciences has acquired Kirkegaard & Perry Laboratories (KPL), a provider of antibodies and related diagnostic and life sciences reagents. KPL's portfolio includes immunochemicals for in vitro diagnostics, such as primary and secondary antibodies, as well as reagents and kits targeting enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, western blotting, immunohistology, protein labeling, nucleic acid labeling, sample preparation, protein purification, and recombinant protein detection and analysis. According to SeraCare's press release, this acquisition will help expand the company's selection of products designed to help researchers develop in vitro diagnostic assays through both off-the-shelf products and custom antibody design. The company did not disclose the terms of this transaction.