TUCSON, Ariz.—As though in defiance of a recent hostile takeover bid by Roche Holdings and as a clear sign of its own continued expansion, Ventana Medical Systems announced it has acquired Fremont, Calif.-based Spring BioScience. The monoclonal antibody and reagent supplier will cost Ventana $28.9 million in cash, as well as another $11.7 million over the next two years as Spring achieves specific scientific milestones. The California company will continue operations as a wholly owned subsidiary.
"Adding Spring's world-class team and capabilities to Ventana represents the achievement of our goal to establish and grow resources for product development and antibody design within our organization," says Christopher Gleeson, Ventana president and CEO. "Because antibody development is a principle component of almost all companion diagnostics programs, the acquisition of Spring BioScience further enhances Ventana's global leadership in the rapidly emerging area of companion diagnostics—the future of personalized medicine."
Regarding companion diagnostics, the bid by diagnostic powerhouse Ventana to move into this marketspace is indicative to the increasingly blurring line between drug development and diagnostics and the push by regulatory agencies for pharmaceutical companies to co-develop future therapeutics with assays that will identify patient populations for which the drugs will be most effective.
Explaining this push in a January 2006 interview with DDN, CDER's Dr. Felix Frueh said: "I believe that the market is changing. Companies are realizing that drugs really are effective only for maybe half of the people who are actually taking them. What happens next is a trial-and-error situation where you lower or raise the dose if it doesn't work, or you change the drug. But the treatment is definitely not as good as it could be."