Done deal for drug discovery

Asterand completes acquisition of BioSeek, a developer of cell-based disease models

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DETROIT, Mich.—Asterand plc, a provider of human tissue samples and related services to researchers around the world, has completed its acquisition of BioSeek Inc., a San Francisco-based company that makes assays based on human cells to assist in drug discovery.

BioSeek is a pioneer in the application of predictive human biology to drug discovery through its unique human primary cell-based disease models. The acquisition was finalized after the approval by Asterand's shareholders. BioSeek is now a new entity and a wholly owned subsidiary of Asterand.     

"It is exactly three months since we first announced this deal and we can't wait to offer a new, broader line of products and services to our customers based on the BioSeek technology, which is so complementary to Asterand," said Asterand CEO Martyn Coombs in a statement. "This acquisition is about growth and supplying real value-added services to our drug discovery clients. The BioSeek and Asterand teams look forward to working closely together to expand and grow the combined business."

The acquisition is Asterand's first step in its "buy and build" strategy, which intends to consolidate leadership in the global human tissue and human tissue-based services market. Coombs noted that BioSeek's BioMAP platform and human cell-based assays are highly complementary to the human tissue-based products and services offered by Asterand.   

BioSeek has developed proprietary human cell-based, high-throughput assay systems (BioMAP). The systems are designed to replicate the intricate cell and pathway interactions that are present in inflammatory, autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases.
BioMAP predicts clinical activities of a potential drug candidate through comparison of assay results to a proprietary database of data profiles for known compounds. According to Asterand, the BioMAP platform provides pharmaceutical companies with actionable data to guide their lead selection and optimization programs.

Asterand intends to maintain BioSeek's South San Francisco site and staff. BioSeek's key managers, including Dr. Ellen Berg, BioSeek's chief scientific officer, and Dr. Ivan Plavec, vice president of business development, will be joining Asterand's senior management team. BioSeek CEO Dr. Mike Venuti has agreed to act as a consultant to Asterand for a transition period following completion.
"This acquisition is all about growth and value and offering the supply of more services to our customers—to be seen by pharma R&D as the human-based solutions company," Coombs stated. "In addition to investments in sales and marketing, in the future we will look carefully at potential investments in R&D to expand the BioSeek platform to a broader range of diseases."

Venuti said in a statement that the BioSeek team is excited about the opportunities presented with Asterand and its mission to provide value-added, human-based solutions to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide.

"With the increasing use of cell-based technologies in drug candidate evaluation, we believe the BioMAP platform is poised for growth," he stated. "In addition, there are significant synergies to be realized in the complementary combination of the two companies' scientific expertise, commercial operations, product platforms and customer base."

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