Affymetrix and Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Expand Licensing Deal

Affymetrix and Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics have expanded their exclusive license agreement granting Affymetrix the rights to make in situ products using Siemens branched DNA (bDNA) technology. The terms of the new deal allow Affymetrix to commercialize in situ Quanti-Gene ViewRNA products, in addition to giving the company exclusive rights to the use of alkaline phosphatase-conjugated oligonucleotides in bDNA methods. With this expanded license, Affymetrix intends to develop and market a platform with an assay menu of chromogenic-based applications of the bDNA technology. "[These methods] have the potential of becoming powerful new tools to translate biomarker signatures to diagnostics that enable clinicians to personalize patient care," said George Bers, vice president and general manager of the gene expression business unit at Affymetrix. "These predictable, two-plex, highly-sensitive and specific chromogenic assays help move the analysis to the next level by literally analyzing any expressed gene at the single transcript per single cell level."

Hologic Finalizes Acquisition of Gen-Probe

Hologic, a producer of medical technology, announced that it has completed the acquisition of molecular diagnostics firm Gen-Probe, paying approximately $3.8 billion to add the company to its diagnostics business unit. Gen-Probe shareholders have approved the acquisition and Hologic president and CEO Rob Cascella expressed his enthusiasm about the deal. "We are pleased to complete this acquisition and welcome Gen-Probe into the Hologic family," he said. "With Gen-Probe's suite of technologies, Hologic is now firmly established as a premier provider of diagnostic solutions." The transaction is expected to save the combined company $75 million during its first 3 years.

Merck Licenses Breast Cancer Patents to HTG Molecular Diagnostics

HTG Molecular Diagnostics has obtained a non-exclusive license for Merck's patent portfolio of breast cancer markers, which also includes patents and applications co-owned by the Netherlands Cancer Institute. "This patent portfolio license from Merck gives HTG access to key intellectual property to bring valuable breast cancer tests to market," said T. J. Johnson, HTG Molecular Diagnostics CEO. He stressed the importance of the ability to "assess a patient's likelihood to have recurrent breast cancer," which is key to enhancing patient care and deciding on a course of treatment. Using Merck's portfolio, HTG intends to develop new breast cancer diagnostics that will use gene expression testing to improve on risk of cancer recurrence prediction.

One Lambda Acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific

Thermo Fisher Scientific has entered into an agreement to acquire One Lambda
for $925 million in cash. As a transplant diagnostics pioneer, One Lambda is "an exciting addition to the [Thermo Fisher] specialty diagnostics portfolio" according to Marc N. Casper, president and CEO of Thermo Fisher. "One Lambda gives us access to the attractive transplant diagnostics market and complements our existing immunosuppressant monitoring assays," said Casper. Co-founder, president and CEO of One Lambda, George M. Ayoub, is also optimistic about the potential for Thermo Fisher's assays to work in concert with One Lambda's transplant tests to prevent transplant rejection. The deal between the two companies is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Foundation Medicine Enters Collaboration with Clovis Oncology

Molecular information company Foundation Medicine has begun collaborating with biopharmaceutical firm Clovis Oncology to develop a diagnostic test that would provide guidance for treating breast and ovarian cancer patients with rucaparib, Clovis's drug in Phase I/II clinical development. The two companies aim to identify genetic mutations that could help select tumors most likely to respond to the drug treatment. Regarding the collaboration, president and CEO of Clovis Oncology Patrick J. Mahaffy said, "This continues our commitment to developing targeted therapies with companion diagnostics to identify the patients most likely to benefit from our therapeutics." President and CEO of Foundation Medicine Michael J. Pellini added that he believes this collaboration will help Foundation Medicine fulfill its goal to translate its genomic profiles into "clinically actionable information."