Life Technologies acquires Compendia Bioscience

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 02:54 PM

Carlsbad, Calif.-based Life Technologies is acquiring Compendia Bioscience, a cancer bioinformatics company helping the pharmaceutical industry to identify novel gene targets for drug discovery and development.

Life Technologies said Compendia’s oncology expertise and proprietary assets will enhance its diagnostic development capabilities across multiple platforms, including next-generation sequencing, qPCR and proteome analysis.

Compendia's existing business, which will continue under the leadership of its current management team, adds an established base of pharmaceutical industry customers for Life Technologies. Compendia's oncology data is utilized by pharmaceutical companies in their drug development work and will extend Life's abilities both to develop its own tests and to partner with pharmaceutical companies in companion diagnostic development.

"By combining the acquisitions of Pinpoint Genomics, Navigenics and Compendia, we now possess the full spectrum capability to develop and commercialize high-value cancer diagnostics where there is currently great unmet need," said Gregory T. Lucier, Chairman and CEO of Life Technologies.

The recent launch of Pervenio Lung RS, a first-of-its-kind prognostic test, underscores Life Technologies' strategy to focus initially on lung cancer, a highly underserved disease. The company plans to utilize Compendia to springboard to other areas of oncology.

Compendia holds one of the world's largest and most comprehensive sets of mutation profiles, gene expression data and cellular biomarkers gathered from more than 62,000 cancer patients. Oncomine, the company's cloud-based analytics tool, integrates high-throughput cancer profiling data across a large volume of cancer types to allow users to mine it for correlations among genetic signatures, clinical status and drug response markers.

The proprietary technology is especially useful to Compendia's pharmaceutical customer base. They use it to ascertain the genes most frequently mutated across thousands of samples of a given cancer type, as well as the biomarkers associated with biological responses to specific classes of compounds. Compendia's OncoScore product helps optimize the clinical trials process by stratifying patients based on genetic signatures so that individuals most likely to respond to specific drugs are included.

"Compendia has become an integral part of the pharmaceutical industry's cancer drug discovery programs and, in joining Life Technologies, we'll gain the opportunity to expand the utility of Compendia even further," said Daniel R. Rhodes, Compendia's CEO and co-founder, who will join Life Technologies following the acquisition.

Compendia co-founder Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., a pioneer in cancer research, will serve as strategic advisor to Life Technologies, helping to shape the company's further steps into personalized medicine.

"Initially, tests like Pervenio Lung RS will be offered as a service through our CLIA laboratory, but our longer-term goal is to commercialize diagnostic products on Life platforms for use in hospitals labs, where the majority of patients are treated," said Ronnie Andrews, president of medical sciences at Life Technologies. "All patients should have access to an opportunity to benefit from the extensive knowledge base that has been gained through decades of research."

The Compendia acquisition also will enhance Life's companion diagnostics effort and positions the company as a partner of choice for pharma. Life can now offer best-in-class products and services for target discovery and validation, biomarker analysis, clinical sample testing, companion diagnostics development and clinical implementation.

Life Technologies plans to develop a clinical version of Oncomine, which will allow physicians to compare their patients' genetic signatures against large data sets to determine the most effective drug protocols. A transfer of the bioinformatics data into easy-to-use, actionable information will be possible with the treating physician portal repurposed from the Navigenics acquisition.

Life Technologies will also incorporate the Compendia oncology workflow within its Ion Reporter software to accelerate its lead in building the most robust bioinformatics offering in the industry. Researchers sequencing tumor samples on the Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM), for example, will be able to leverage the insight gained from the thousands of samples already in Compendia's database in an effort to identify targetable mutations.

Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. The acquisition of Compendia Bioscience is expected to be neutral to 2012 earnings and accretive to the company's overall ROIC by 2015.

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