Pathologists take note! Companion diagnostics is the driver in this transaction.
Genetic testing giant Myriad Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MYGN) will pay $80 million to acquire Rules-Based Medicine (RBM) of Austin, Texas, a privately-held companion diagnostic company in a deal announced last week.
Myriad Genetics, best known to pathologists and clinical laboratory managers for its portfolio of predictive genetic cancer tests, believes its purchase of Rules-Based Medicine will give it a faster entre into companion diagnostics. RBM is a life sciences company that has well-established relationships with key therapeutic drug companies.
RBM is developing molecular diagnostic tests based on novel biomarker patterns and recently introduced a multi-analyte medical laboratory test for the psychiatric market. The company will continue as a wholly owned subsidiary of Myriad and be renamed Myriad RBM. Some of RBM’s employees will be relocated to Utah.
“RBM’s history of strategic alliances with over 20 major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, coupled with Myriad’s position in PARP inhibitors and PI3K, creates a leading franchise in companion diagnostics,” the press release stated. “Furthermore, the RBM acquisition provides Myriad with access to patient cohorts for new diagnostic development, and is expected to enhance Myriad’s DNA and RNA technologies.”
Salt Lake City, Utah-based Myriad Genetics is a molecular diagnostic company that develops products for novel predictive, personalized and prognostic medicine. The bulk of Myriad’s $363 million in annual revenues comes from its BRACAnalysis test, which analyzes a woman’s DNA for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, the presence of which greatly increases a woman’s chances of inheriting breast and ovarian cancer.
“RBM’s extensive product pipeline includes tests for anti-psychotic drug safety, hepatitis C drug response and detection of kidney damage in diabetes patients, and will augment Myriad’s strong oncology pipeline,” said Peter Meldrum, President and Chief Executive Officer of Myriad Genetics in the press release.
“RBM has succeeded in developing over 550 immunoassays and a proprietary multiplex immunoassay technology for the discovery of novel protein biomarkers,” said Craig Benson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rules-Based Medicine in the press release. “With its heritage as an innovator in the molecular diagnostics field, Myriad is perfectly suited to take RBM to the next stage and commercialize our products that can improve the quality of one’s life.”
RBM’s founder is familiar to attendees of The Dark Group’s Executive War College in 2010. Last year, Mark Chandler, Ph.D., who is also Chairman of Biophysical Corporation in Austin, Texas, delivered a presentation titled “Why New Multiplex Testing Technologies Will Soon Bend the Care Curve in Surprising Ways.”
Dr. Chandler founded Rules-Based Medicine in 2002, and then served as its CEO and Chairman of the board until 2004. Prior to founding RBM, Dr. Chandler founded Luminex Corp., which manufactures biological testing technology for the clinical diagnostic and life science industries.
Myriad’s purchase of Rules-Based Medicine is just the latest example of how important companies in the clinical laboratory testing marketplace are positioning themselves to serve the coming demand for companion diagnostic tests. Pathologists and clinical laboratory executives should expect to see similar acquisitions in coming months.
—By Michael McBride