Agena Bioscience, Inc., a portfolio company of Telegraph Hill Partners (THP), today acquired the Bioscience business of Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: SQNM), which sells the MassARRAY® System for mass spectrometry-based detection of nucleic acids in research and clinical laboratories. Agena Bioscience has retained the employees of the acquired segment and will remain headquartered in San Diego, California.
Agena Bioscience aims to advance the MassARRAY system, a proprietary platform used in unlocking biological understanding from genetic studies. The vision is to leverage the unique capabilities of the MassARRAY platform and make it an informative and cost-effective genetic analysis tool for use in clinical practice.
"Our team has been greatly impressed by the MassARRAY platform's power to deliver accurate and cost-effective characterization of nucleic acids. Sequenom management and THP agree that this transaction will allow the highly talented staff of the Bioscience business to focus their energies on expanding the potential of the platform. We are delighted to accelerate this transformation through the support of THP's growth capital," stated Matt Mackowski, Chairman of Telegraph Hill Partners.
Agena Bioscience also announced that John Lillig has joined the company as Chairman and interim CEO. Lillig is a senior life sciences and diagnostics industry executive with more than 30 years' experience in building and growing businesses in the life science instruments, reagents, and clinical diagnostics markets.
"MassARRAY has become a fundamental tool for genomic research. We believe it will have a similar impact as a high throughput and cost effective workhorse technology for mutation detection and targeted genomic analysis of cancer and other diseases in the clinical laboratory setting as well," said Lillig.
Utilized in more than 2,000 published research studies, the MassARRAY technology incorporates MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry for highly sensitive and specific interrogation of tens to hundreds of multiplexed genetic biomarkers at a low cost point. The MassARRAY instrument and accompanying custom and predesigned assay kits have been used to validate candidate markers at a high sample throughput, enabling statistically significant correlations to clinically relevant phenotypes. The results of these studies subsequently are used to develop molecular diagnostics.
Agena Bioscience will enhance the MassARRAY System with expanded hardware automation, software functionality, high value assay content, and resources to support its growing use in basic, agricultural, and clinical research. The company also intends to extend the MassARRAY platform into the in vitro diagnostic market with the IMPACT Dx™ System, for which a Premarket 510(k) Notification is pending with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.