- Strategic Investment Strengthens QIAGEN's Leadership in Personalized Healthcare
- Alacris Modeling System Generates Individual Treatment Recommendations Based on Analysis of Whole Genome Sequencing Data and Other Information
- QIAGEN to Gain Exclusive Option Rights to all Biomarkers Identified by Alacris
QIAGEN (NASDAQ: QGEN; Frankfurt, Prime Standard: QIA) has signed an agreement for the acquisition of a strategic stake in Alacris Theranostics GmbH, a German start-up company using novel technologies to develop individualized cancer treatment strategies based upon a patient's genomic profile, and for the acquisition of an exclusive option to access all biomarkers emerging from this discovery program.
Alacris, founded by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (http://www.molgen.mpg.de/) (MPI-MG) in Berlin and Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, USA, uses a proprietary modeling system developed at MPI-MG and exclusively licensed to Alacris Theranostics, to analyze clinical sample data based on next-generation and other whole genome sequencing technologies.
This system, called ModCell(TM), addresses a critical bottleneck in the development of personalized healthcare solutions. It allows users to identify and select from vast amounts of genetic data such markers that can prove useful to guide treatment decisions for patients. The technology can also be used to create marker subsets to stratify potential patient populations for R&D trials involving medicines in clinical development. These marker selections can be formatted into real-time PCR-based assays that QIAGEN can commercialize within its pharmaceutical development assay portfolio or its therascreen molecular diagnostics portfolio for use on its new QIAsymphony RGQ platform.
The collaboration brings together the global leadership of QIAGEN in developing molecular diagnostic and testing solutions in pharmaceutical development and personalized healthcare with Alacris' genomic data generation and mining capabilities and preferential access to large and well-characterized clinical sample sets.
"The genome-driven approach of Alacris complements our strategy very well since it facilitates a clinically relevant selection of molecular targets from vast amounts of genetic and clinical data. QIAGEN intends to develop such molecular targets into assays for our QIAsymphony platform to personalize treatments and improve outcomes for patients," said Peer Schatz, Chief Executive Officer of QIAGEN. "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."
"We are very pleased about this collaboration. 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, one of the founders of Alacris Theranostics GmbH and a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics. "QIAGEN has rich experience and know-how in the commercialization of innovative life science and diagnostic technologies, which will help us to commercialize this novel approach to treating diseases such as cancer in the future."
QIAGEN is currently active in more than 20 projects to develop companion diagnostics with a broad range of major pharmaceutical companies based upon molecular biomarkers. QIAGEN is also active in many collaborations for the discovery and validation of biomarkers for the development of future diagnostics and therapeutics, which have been greatly enhanced by the acquisition of SABiosciences( http://www.qiagen.com/about/pressreleases/pressreleaseview.aspx?PressReleaseI>
(Due to the length of this URL, it may be necessary to copy and paste this hyperlink into your Internet browser's URL address field. Remove the space if one exists.)
Biomarkers are molecules such as nucleic acids or proteins that are indicative for particular cell processes, biochemical metabolic pathways or receptors on the cell surface. Providing descriptions for individual patient profiles as well as for emergence and progress of diseases, biomarkers play an increasingly important role in diagnostics and the development of new pharmaceutical agents. Experts estimate (http://www.globalbusinessinsights.com/content/rbdd0009m.pdf ) the overall market volume for biomarkers will be approximately $21 billion by 2012.
The genome-based approach opens new perspectives for personalized cancer treatments as it enables the reliable assessment of treatment outcomes with various combinations of drugs by not only detecting mutations in individual genes but by analyzing the entire mutation spectrum of all genes involved in the disease.
Initial tests of this method collaboratively conducted under the international research project Treat 1000 ( http://treat1000.alacrispharma.com/ ) have generated promising results. The continuous decline in sequencing costs for marker discovery and the wider dissemination of PCR-based assay technologies on one hand, and rising healthcare expenditures on the other hand, are additional factors that prompted Alacris to develop and commercialize this approach.
Terms of the agreement
QIAGEN will acquire a minority stake in Alacris Theranostics GmbH, and an exclusive option for access to all biomarkers that are discovered. Alacris will participate in commercialization of these biomarkers through royalty fees. Financial details of the agreement, which is subject to closing requirements as approval of Alacris' shareholders, were not disclosed.