CAMBRIDGE, U.K. & VIENNA, Austria—Horizon Discovery Group plc has announced that it will acquire Vienna-based Haplogen Genomics GmbH, a biotechnology company, for an initial consideration of £6 million (approximately $9 million) in cash and the issue of new ordinary shares with further potential earn-out payments based on future performance, to be satisfied by the issue of new ordinary shares with an aggregate value of up to approximately £3.9 million (approximately $5.8 million). Haplogen Genomics saw revenues of roughly €688,000, and loss before interest and taxation of approximately €300,000 for the year ended Dec. 31, 2014 (unaudited). Horizon noted that the acquisition “Underpins new and scalable product, service and leveraged revenue streams derived from rapidly growing genomics and cell-based assay markets, expected to grow to a combined £12.8 billion by 2016.”
“We are extremely pleased to be able to put our research tools division into an exciting company like Horizon which is firmly establishing itself as the market leader in the fields of genome editing and personalized medicine. Having already established a strong working relationship with Horizon, it was easy to see the benefits of joining forces and we have great confidence in Horizon’s ability to develop the haploid platform to its fullest potential,” Dr. Georg Casari, CEO of Haplogen GmbH, said in a press release.
The acquisition gains Horizon Haplogen Genomics' platform, which enables precisely defined genetic changes to be introduced to proprietary human HAP-1, KBM-7 and eHAP cell lines that have been engineered to present pure haploid genetics. As a result, the platform can generate custom engineered cell lines at lost cost and in a highly parallel production regimen. One of the benefits of haploid (cells with only one copy of genes) cellular models is that they offer a biologically relevant system for in-vitro genetic analyses and are more easily generated as only one copy of a gene needs to be targeted to generate a complete knock out. In addition to improving Horizon's capabilities in product development, the Haplogen platform will also be combined with Horizon's in-vitro and in-vivo gene editing, cell-based assay development, compound screening, drug combination profiling and biomarker discovery platform, which will allow the company to provide end-to-end research services for companies developing medicines and therapies for genetically defined patient populations.
The platform both increases Horizon's cell line inventory 10-fold and enables an on-demand cell line development service to be launched in Q1 2015. Horizon noted that “The adoption of haploid cellular models is in its infancy but has the potential to rapidly grow,” meaning this deal provides the company with a foothold into what could be another new area of market growth.
"We have seen increasing interest in Haplogen Genomics’ offerings from all customer segments including academic researchers, drug development companies and research tools providers since we started working with them. Given mounting interest from other potential acquirers, we are delighted that Haplogen Genomics recognized Horizon’s leadership in translational genomics and have agreed to become part of the Horizon Discovery Group,” Dr. Darrin M. Disley, CEO of Horizon Discovery Group plc, commented in a statement.
“This acquisition is a continuation of our ambition, stated at the time of our IPO, of expanding our intellectual property portfolio, product development capabilities and commercial offerings to gain broader access to important markets, especially basic academic research,” he added. “The team in Vienna has proven in a short time that they can be a very effective and competitive force in the field of genome engineering, and we look forward to working with them to revolutionize the genomics field by enabling access to first-in-class products and services that disrupt the status quo.”
In the wake of the acquisition, Haplogen will be renamed Horizon Genomics GmbH with immediate effect and will maintain its lab and offices in Vienna and function as a wholly owned subsidiary of Horizon Discovery Group plc. Dr. Thomas Moser, Haplogen's CEO, will become general manager of the Vienna-based group and handle oversight and operations at the Austria facility.
SOURCE: Horizon press release