DNA Electronics acquires nanoMR for $24m

19 January 2015

London-based DNA Electronics Ltd, the inventors of semiconductor DNA sequencing technology, has completed the acquisition of nanoMR Inc. an Albuquerque-based developer of a system for rapid isolation of rare cells in the bloodstream, for approximately $24 million.

The acquisition enables DNAe to integrate nanoMR’s unique immunomagnetic Pathogen Capture System (PCS) with its own Genalysis PCR and semiconductor-based DNA sequencing technology to create a complete blood-to-result solution. Integration of the two organisations is effective immediately, creating an 80+ strong team with facilities in the UK and the USA that will operate under the DNAe brand.

The Pathogen Capture System can target multiple rare cell types such as those contained in bacteria and fungi from bloodstream infections at levels of 1 cell/mL or lower in less than 30 minutes, making it the ideal sample preparation technology for DNAe’s rapid point-of-need diagnostic tests. DNAe’s proven semiconductor DNA sequencing technology is already licensed to Thermo Fisher and is the core of the Ion Torrent Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) systems as well as to Geneu, a company selling the world's first in-store DNA test for personalised skincare.

DNAe is developing an integrated instrument and consumable cartridge that will deliver results directly from blood in 2-3 hours. Its first diagnostic product, a test for the rapid diagnosis of bloodstream infections, will identify pathogens in the blood as well as antimicrobial resistance genes. This will allow clinicians to treat patients with appropriate medication before the onset of sepsis, saving lives and reducing the time spent in hospital.

Professor Chris Toumazou, Chairman and CEO of DNAe said, “The acquisition of the nanoMR technology and team underscores our commitment to developing a complete point-of-need solution for diagnosis of infectious diseases, particularly those that cause sepsis, where speed and DNA-specific information can make the difference between life and death. nanoMR brings a game-changing technology, a wealth of scientific expertise and the potential for exciting new applications to DNAe.”

The combined company will continue to work on nanoMR contracts including the development of PCS and assays for potential infectious agents for the US Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency (BARDA) and will further invest in the development of PCS from its US facility. The UK-based operation will focus on developing Genalysis technology as part of an integrated system.

nanoMR’s CEO Victor Esch said, “By combining our PCS technology with the powerful molecular diagnostic technology developed by DNAe we are in a strong position to create a blood-to-result system with unmatched versatility and performance. DNAe is the perfect match for nanoMR and we look forward to a great future as part of the combined team.”

DNAe has strong financial backing, including major shareholder Genting Berhad, a Malaysian-based global investor which has three positions on the board of directors.

Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, CEO and Chairman of Genting Berhad said: “This is a major value-creating deal for DNAe. The development of these ground-breaking technologies to address the huge unmet medical need for rapid point-of-need testing for sepsis, as well as other applications, makes it a stand-out company that we are proud to support. We are convinced that the acquisition of the nanoMR technology and the drive and commitment of the management team to accelerate development towards commercialisation will make a major contribution to the improvement of patient care.”

Source: DNAe

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