Life Technologies acquires Compendia Bioscience

Bioinformatics expertise completes foundation of Life Technologies’ oncology strategy

Lloyd Dunlap
CARLSBAD, Calif.­—Life Technologies Corp. has acquiredCompendia Bioscience, a cancer bioinformatics company widely used by thepharmaceutical industry to identify novel gene targets for drug discovery anddevelopment.
 
Compendia's oncology expertise and proprietary assetsenhance Life Technologies' diagnostic development capabilities across multipleplatforms, including next-generation sequencing, qPCR and proteome analysis,according to Life Technologies' announcement, and represent another significantstep in Life's strategy to develop its medical sciences business through internaldevelopment, partnerships and select acquisitions.
 
 
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Theacquisition is expected to be neutral to 2012 earnings and accretive to thecompany's overall return on invested capital by 2015 and completes thefoundation of Life Technologies' oncology strategy, the company states.
 
 
Compendia's existing business, which will continue under theleadership of its current management team, adds an established base ofpharmaceutical industry customers for Life Technologies' platforms. Compendia'soncology data is widely utilized by leading pharmaceutical companies in theirdrug development work and will extend Life Technologies' abilities to bothdevelop its own tests and to partner with pharmaceutical companies in companiondiagnostic development.
 
 
Life Technologies will incorporate the Compendia oncologyworkflow within its Ion Reporter software with the goal of building the mostrobust bioinformatics offering in the industry. Researchers sequencing tumorsamples on the Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM), for example, will be able toleverage the insight gained from the thousands of samples already inCompendia's database in an effort to identify targetable mutations.
 
 
"Users of our Ion Torrent semiconductor sequencing platformwill be able to compare the results delivered through Ion Reporter software fortheir own tumor samples directly against thousands of curated and cataloguedtumor samples stored within Compendia's database. Compendia's powerfulanalytical engine will be fully integrated with Ion Reporter to identify inreal time and in a very user-friendly way which mutations are likely driversversus passenger mutations, whether these point to actionable targets and ifthere is clinical or experimental evidence for response to these targets," saysRonnie Andrews, president of medical sciences at Life Technologies.
 
Compendia's sets of mutation profiles, gene expression dataand cellular biomarkers have been gathered from more than 62,000 cancerpatients. Oncomine, the company's cloud-based analytics tool, integrateshigh-throughput cancer profiling data across a large volume of cancer types toallow users to mine it for correlations among genetic signatures, clinicalstatus and drug response markers. The company's pharmaceutical customer baseuses the proprietary technology to ascertain the genes most frequently mutatedacross thousands of samples of a given cancer type, as well as the biomarkersassociated with biological responses to specific classes of compounds. LifeTechnologies plans to develop a clinical version of Oncomine, which will allowphysicians to compare their patients' genetic signatures against large datasets to determine the most effective drug protocols. A seamless transfer of thebioinformatics data into easy-to-use, actionable information will be possiblewith the treating physician portal repurposed from the Navigenics acquisition.Compendia's OncoScore product is a tool that helps optimize the clinical trialsprocess by stratifying patients based on genetic signatures so that individualsmost likely to respond to specific drugs are included.
 
"We have created the optimal foundation to drive progress inpersonalized medicine," says Gregory T. Lucier, chairman and CEO of LifeTechnologies. "By combining the acquisitions of Pinpoint Genomics, Navigenicsand Compendia, we now possess the full-spectrum capability to develop andcommercialize high-value cancer diagnostics where there is currently greatunmet need."
 
 
"Compendia has become an integral part of  the pharmaceutical industry's cancerdrug discovery programs, and in joining Life Technologies, we'll gain theopportunity to expand the utility of Compendia even further," says Daniel R.Rhodes, Compendia's CEO and co-founder, who will join Life Technologies whenthe acquisition is finalized.
Compendia Co-Founder Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan will serve asstrategic advisor to Life Technologies, helping to shape the company's furthersteps into personalized medicine.
 
 

 
Life Tech, VelaDx to develop IVD tests
 
 
CARLSBAD, Calif.—Life Technologies Corp. and VelaDx haveentered into a license and supply agreement that will give VelaDx rights todevelop and market next-generation sequencing-based, in-vitro diagnostic tests on the Ion Personal Genome Machine(PGM) platform. VelaDx will seek approvals from global regulatory authoritiesfor clinical diagnostic tests in oncology and infectious disease.
 
 
According to a news release announcing the agreement, VelaDxchose the Ion PGM System because of its speed, simplicity and flexibility, andbecause it is complementary to Vela Dx's Sentosa workflow and menu of qPCRassay kits. Both Ion's PGM and VelaDx's Sentosa systems can operate on a menuof single-indication tests or multiple-indication panels that can easily beimplemented in virtually any laboratory, according to the companies. Inaddition, a seamless, bidirectional data communication with laboratoryinformation systems between the Ion PGM™ and Sentosa systems will maintain theaccuracy of data and improve the efficiency of the laboratory workflow.
 
 
"Our agreement with Life Technologies puts Vela Diagnosticsat the cutting-edge position in medicine," said VelaDx CEO Michael Tillmann."The Ion PGM System will support VelaDx's strategy to improve laboratoryefficiency and bring new innovative tests to our customers to help improvetreatment decisions for patients."

Lloyd Dunlap

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