Exonhit eyes growth in molecular diagnostics with Redpath acquisition

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PARIS—ExonHit Therapeutics SA, a developer of therapeutics and diagnostic tests, announced April 26 that it entered into a binding agreement for the acquisition of RedPath Integrated Pathology Inc., a privately held molecular diagnostics company focused on cancer, for $12 million in cash and $10 million in stock.

RedPath will become part of ExonHit's U.S. operations in Gaithersburg, Md. Starting in 2012, RedPath's current shareholders may receive subsequent additional payments of up to $9.5 million dependent on the achievement of specific sales targets. The transaction, which is subject to approval by ExonHit's shareholders, is expected to close by mid-July.

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., RedPath has a DNA-based technology platform, PathFinderTG, which provides diagnostic information that can lead to a more personalized patient clinical management decision. According to RedPath, the analytical tool improves the diagnosis of difficult cases in which cancerous or precancerous conditions are not identified by a conventional pathology examination.

ExonHit says the addition of RedPath's DNA platform to its RNA-based platform is a "synergistic addition" that directly links the significant role DNA mutations play in altering the regulation of alternative splicing. It is currently estimated that more than 10 percent of all described human gene mutations directly impact splicing. The combined approach will allow for the possibility of more accurate diagnostic tests with a strengthened IP position, says Dr. Loïc Maurel, president of ExonHit's management board.

"The acquisition of RedPath is a significant milestone in ExonHit's strategy to become an internationally recognized player in molecular diagnostics," Maurel says. "This transaction will strengthen our presence in the U.S., which represents 55 percent of the multi-billion dollar molecular diagnostics market. RedPath provides a strong strategic and business fit with ExonHit. We are looking forward to working with the talented RedPath team and believe that this strategic move will give ExonHit a new dimension, with an innovative offering in oncology, the fastest-growing segment in molecular diagnostics."

RedPath is also launching a second assay to differentiate primary from metastasis tumors. The company's other service lines include two programs in late-stage development and several earlier stage development programs in oncology.

"We are very pleased with this outcome, as it will benefit patients, clinicians and the employees of RedPath," says RedPath president and CEO Mark D. Myslinski. "Combining ExonHit's and RedPath's respective technologies, know-how and resources will help maximize the potential of both PathFinderTG and AclarusDx platforms. The transaction is good news for both the investors and the entire RedPath team, who will remain highly involved in the development and commercialization of the PathFinderTG line and constitute a key asset for the commercial success of AclarusDx in the U.S. Additionally, the company is eager to bring the clinical solutions to the EU patients and clinicians who will benefit from the clinical utility of the assays."

Myslinski will lead ExonHit's global diagnostics division and join the company's management board upon closing of the transaction.

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