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Life Technologies Acquires Cancer Bioinformatics Company

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 29 Oct 2012
Biotech company, Life Technologies (Carlsbad, CA, USA), has acquired Compendia Bioscience (Ann Arbor, MI, USA), a major cancer bioinformatics company that is extensively used by the pharmaceutical industry to identify novel gene targets for drug discovery and development. Compedia’s oncology expertise and proprietary assets will augment Life’s diagnostic development capabilities across multiple platforms, including quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), next-generation sequencing, and proteome analysis.

Compendia’s existing business, which will continue under the leadership of its current management team, adds an established base of pharmaceutical industry customers for Life Technologies’ platforms. Compendia’s oncology data is utilized by major pharmaceutical companies in their drug development research and will extend Life’s abilities to both develop its own tests and to partner with pharmaceutical companies in companion diagnostic development.

The recent launch of Pervenio Lung RS, a first-of-its-kind prognostic test, highlights Life Technologies’ plan to focus initially on lung cancer, a very underserved disease. The company plans to utilize the extensive content in Compendia to move into other areas of oncology.

Compendia has one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive sets of mutation profiles, gene expression data and cellular biomarkers that have been gathered from more than 62,000 cancer patients. Oncomine, the company’s cloud-based analytics application, integrates high-throughput cancer profiling data across a large quantity of cancer types to allow users to mine it for correlations among genetic signatures, clinical status, and drug response markers.

The proprietary technology is particularly useful to Compendia’s pharmaceutical customers. They use it to establish the genes most frequently mutated across thousands of samples of a given cancer type, as well as the biomarkers associated with biologic responses to specific types of compounds. Another valuable product is Compendia’s OncoScore, a tool that helps optimize the clinical trials process by stratifying patients based on genetic signatures so that individuals most likely to respond to specific drugs are included.

“Compendia has become an integral part of the pharmaceutical industry’s cancer drug discovery programs, and in joining Life Technologies, we’ll gain the opportunity to expand the utility of Compendia even further,” said Daniel R. Rhodes, Compendia’s chief executive officer and cofounder, who will join Life Technologies following the acquisition.

Compendia cofounder Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, an innovator in the area of cancer research, will serve as strategic advisor to Life Technologies, helping with the company’s future move into customized medicine.

“Compendia is highly regarded by its customers as a preeminent source of cancer biology expertise,” said Ronnie Andrews, president of medical sciences at Life Technologies. “That expertise will serve as a content engine to drive development of diagnostic content across the breadth of Life platforms. Initially, tests like Pervenio Lung RS, will be offered as a service through our CLIA [Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments] laboratory, but our longer-term goal is to commercialize diagnostic products on Life platforms for use in hospitals labs, where the majority of patients are treated. All patients should have access to an opportunity to benefit from the extensive knowledge base that has been gained through decades of research.”

In addition to enabling Life Technologies’ ability to develop its own lab-developed and commercial tests, the Compendia acquisition will enhance Life’s companion diagnostics effort and positions the company as a partner of choice for pharma. Life can now offer best-in-class products and services for target discovery and validation, biomarker analysis, clinical sample testing, companion diagnostics development and clinical implementation.

Life Technologies plans to develop a clinical version of Oncomine, which will allow physicians to compare their patients’ genetic signatures against massive data sets to determine the most effective drug protocols. A transfer of the bioinformatics data into easy-to-use information will be possible with the treating physician portal repurposed from the Navigenics acquisition.

Life Technologies will also integrate the Compendia oncology workflow within its Ion Reporter software to accelerate its lead in building the most robust bioinformatics offering in the industry. Researchers sequencing tumor samples on the Ion personal genome machine (PGM), for example, will be able to utilize the insights gleaned from the thousands of samples already in Compendia’s database in an effort to identify targetable mutations.

The acquisition represents another important step in Life Technologies’ strategy to develop its medical sciences business through internal development, partnerships, and select acquisitions. The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

Life Technologies has customers in more than 160 countries using its solutions, which span the biologic spectrum with more than 50,000 products for translational research, molecular medicine and diagnostics, stem cell-based therapies, forensics, agricultural biotechnology, food safety, and animal health.

Related Links:
Life Technologies
Compendia Bioscience

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