Horizon Discovery Group, a Cambridge, U.K.-based international life science company supplying research tools and services to organizations engaged in genomics research and the development of personalized medicines, has agreed to acquire Sage Labs, a St. Louis, Mo.-based provider of advanced in vivo transgenic disease models for use in preclinical research, for up to $16 million in cash and up to $32 million through the issue of new ordinary shares.
The acquisition, in line with the stated strategy to build a fully-integrated life science business, provides Horizon with an expanded range of genetically engineered preclinical models, important tools for the discovery and development of medicines targeted to the unique genetic drivers of diseases such as cancer. The combined gene-editing platform diversifies Horizon’s overall product and service offerings into adjacent markets not currently addressed, increases its cost consolidation and cross-selling potential and strengthens its intellectual property portfolio. Sage also provides Horizon with long-term organic innovation opportunities and deep customer relationships within the industry, which complement Horizon’s existing business lines.
Sage, a former business within Sigma-Aldrich, was known as Sigma Advanced Genetic Engineering and became Sage Labs when it was purchased by management and Telegraph Hill Partners in 2013. The company has 50 employees and a direct U.S. and E.U. sales force, enabling the scale-up of Horizon’s product and service offerings through access to new capabilities, capacity and access to new markets.
Horizon will gain exclusive access to ZFN for in vivo model generation and certain exclusive and non-exclusive CRISPR in vivo-related intellectual property (IP) to add to its extensive in vitro IP in CRISPR, ZFN and rAAV, the latter of which is a world-wide exclusive to Horizon. Assets and capabilities acquired include a custom engineered in vivo model development service, an inventory of ready to use in vivo models and an inventory of molecularly annotated patient-derived xenograft (PDx) models and custom development capabilities.
Horizon will focus on expanding Sages’ predominantly U.S. customer base by increasing its presence in Europe, Japan and beyond via access to Horizon’s business development and commercial infrastructure and an almost 1,000 strong customer base.
The acquired business will be known as Sage Labs, a wholly owned subsidiary of Horizon Discovery Group. Dr. David Smoller, formerly CEO of Sage, previous chief scientific officer of Sigma-Aldrich and president of its research biotechnology business unit, will become horizon’s chief business officer. Along with Dr. Darrin M. Disley, CEO of Horizon, Smoller will lead the implementation of the long-term corporate development strategy. Dr. Edward Weinstein will become general manager of Sage.