Nurturing the next generation

Enzymatics acquires ArcherDx and next-generation diagnostic technology

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BEVERLY, Mass.—Enzymatics Inc., a producer of reagents, kitsand assays, announced in September that it has acquired Boulder, Colo.-basedArcherDx Inc., a developer of innovative, next-generation sequencing(NGS)-based kits and software solutions for use in investigating cancertreatment, in a deal that consists of cash, equity and potential milestonesworth as much as $50 million.
With the acquisition, Enzymatics says it is adding genomiccapabilities that are complementary to its Enzymatics Supply Chain Solutionsand Enzymatics Reagents groups, and it will greatly expand its new EnzymaticsDiagnostics group with an innovative technology, kits and analytical softwareto provide hospitals, research institutions and other diagnostic providers witha total solution to rapidly and cost-effectively detect and assess geneticbiomarkers. In addition, ArcherDx's technology reportedly has severaladvantages in copy number variation and translocation analyses, and results areobtained quicker than other current methods, offering a more cost-effectiveapproach to healthcare.
According to Jon DiVincenzo, president and CEO ofEnzymatics, an unprecedented growth in genomics for healthcare applications isfueling greater demand for faster, more accurate and more cost-effectivesequencing applications.
"We are seeing double-digit growth in the placement of newsequencers every year and broad adoption of genomic technologies acrossclinical communities," noted DiVincenzo in the news release about the deal."Enzymatics, which already supplies reagents and kits to approximately 80percent of the NGS industry, together with ArcherDx, will bring novelsequencing applications more directly to clinical researchers."
"What we see is that NGS has been growing rapidly for lastfive or six years with a lot of that activity among researchers," he added inan interview with DDNews. "But what'smade things more exciting is that we are beginning to see real adoption ofsequencing in clinical settings. We're going from research to a place now wherewe can help pathologists, oncologists and others understand the clinicalrelevance of some of these NGS outputs and allow for medically actionableoutcomes and really push personalized medicine forward."
It was late last year and early this year that the twocompanies came into close contact, DiVincenzo recalls, with ArcherDxapproaching Enzymatics as a vendor with a desire to minimize its infrastructurecosts.
"We work with a lot of startups and young companies with alot of great technology for sequencing and informatics," he says. "But what happenedin this case is that as we learned about Archer's technology, we became veryexcited. We've seen a lot of potential in a lot of companies, but this onestood out, and we saw that we could bring them from a component supplier to asolutions provider if we joined up."
Enzymatics is an ideal fit for ArcherDx, according to Dr.Jason Myers, co-founder and CEO of ArcherDx, who now has joined Enzymatics aschief scientific officer, because ArcherDx required extremely high-qualityreagents for its products. Given his experience with the company as a customer,Myers expects that Enzymatics' "exceptional track record for providingunrivaled quality, responsiveness and flexibility to customers will helpadvance the ArcherDx technology toward successful commercialization."
"I think the partnership—this merger between us—really leadsto strategic value," Myers tells DDNews."It allows these products to detect and assess genetic biomarkers to get tomarket quickly. Archer could have spent time to do that ourselves, but bymerging into Enzymatics, I feel that we can pretty much double the output andpotential by combining our strengths and resources. The goal is to productcost-effective, powerful sequencing solutions quickly so the world can haveaccess to them. That's a common goal between the two companies and why ourmerger has been and will be successful."

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