Qiagen to acquire stake in Alacris
Hilden/Berlin – Qiagen NV has signed an agreement for the acquisition of a strategic stake in Alacris Theranostics GmbH, a pioneer in the field of deep sequencing based therapy guidance, clinical trial stratification, and biomarker identification. With its minority stake, Qiagen acquires an exclusive option to access all biomarkers dicovered with Alacris’ ModCell™ system. Alacris will participate in commercialization of these biomarkers through royalty fees. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed. ModCell™, which was invented by Alacris co-founder Prof. Hans Lehrach from Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPI-MG) in Berlin uses a proprietary modelling system and can be used to identify the right therapy for a specific genotype (patient) and also to identify the right genotypes for a therapy (clinical trial stratification). The latter of the two applications leads to the identification of a companion diagnostic or biomarker set for that therapy. These marker selections can be formatted into real-time PCR-based assays that QIAGEN can then commercialize within its pharmaceutical development assay portfolio or its therascreen molecular diagnostics portfolio for use on its new QIAsymphony RGQ platform. “Our strategic investment in Alacris expands QIAGEN’s existing broad biomarker discovery and validation initiatives and is designed to expand our QIAsymphony-based personalized healthcare and pharma development assay portfolio,” said Peer Schatz, Chief Executive Officer of QIAGEN. “With QIAGEN, we have not only engaged a financially strong investor but also a leader in personalized healthcare as our partner,” said Prof. Dr. Hans Lehrach. Biomarkers play an increasingly important role in diagnostics and the development of new pharmaceutical agents. Experts estimate the overall market volume for biomarkers will be approximately $21 billion by 2012. The agreement will not affect marketing of Alacris’ sequencing-based therapy guidance to leading cancer clinics or clinical trial stratification business that is available to pharmaceutical companies in order to help them reduce the cost of bringing their oncology drugs to market and to increase the likelihood of a successful approval.