Bio-Techne has completed its acquisition of liquid biopsy developer Exosome Diagnostics. The takeover moves Bio-Techne further beyond its traditional focus on life science research products by adding a portfolio of clinical diagnostics.
Minneapolis-based Bio-Techne paid $250 million upfront and committed to up to $325 million in milestones to land its target.
The takeover gives Bio-Techne control of four liquid biopsies that test for cancers.
Liquid biopsies could mark a major advance in the diagnosis and monitoring of cancers. These tests give physicians a quick, noninvasive way to detect and analyze genetic material from tumors, thereby enabling the early detection of cancers or providing insights into the genetics of the disease. Armed with this knowledge, physicians can act early and effectively to treat the cancer.
The field is yet to fully deliver on that promise but its potential has attracted some notable names. Roche is buying its way into the field through the $2.4 billion takeover of Foundation Medicine, and Qiagen, Siemens and Thermo Fisher Scientific have all struck deals to bolster their presence in the sector in recent years.
Now, Bio-Techne has added its name to the list of companies with a stake in the game. The takeover gives Bio-Techne control of four liquid biopsies.
Three of the liquid biopsies Bio-Techne will get test for ALK, T790M and EGFR mutations in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. The presence of these mutations dictates whether a patient will respond to drugs including AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso and Roche’s Alecensa. Only the ALK test is cleared for use in patients, but Exosome Diagnostics is already providing the other two to researchers.
The fourth liquid biopsy in Exosome Diagnostics’ portfolio is aimed at prostate cancer patients and is cleared for use in patients. That test is designed to gauge the aggressiveness of the cancer by analyzing three biomarkers found on exosomal RNA in urine. If the test shows a patient has low-grade cancer or benign disease, the physician may opt against performing a full biopsy, thereby eliminating unnecessary procedures.
Exosome Diagnostics has not put the tests through the FDA clearance or approval pathways. Rather, it has made two of them available through a process that allows certified clinical laboratories to perform certain tests.