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Clinical Data to Acquire Icoria for $12.5M

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With the ink barely dry on its deal to acquire Genaissance, announced in June, Clinical Data says that it plans to acquire Icoria in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $12.5 million.

The move is another step along Clinical Data’s path to molecular diagnostics. “Icoria’s biomarker discovery platform is an excellent fit with our molecular diagnostics business model, while their metabolomics and genomics capabilities complement the pharmacogenomics capabilities we will be gaining in our pending acquisition of Genaissance Pharmaceuticals,” says Clinical Data’s president and CEO Israel Stein in a company statement.

In a similar statement from June, Stein describes his company’s acquisition of Genaissance as a “strong strategic fit.” That acquisition will serve his company’s plan to produce “proprietary tests and services serving broad markets,” he says.

Under the current acquisition agreement, which requires approval by Icoria’s shareholders, Clinical Data will issue 0.0139 of its own shares for each share of Icoria common stock, representing a price of $0.32 per Icoria share based on the closing price of Clinical Data’s stock in late September.

Icoria’s stock closed at about $0.18 on September 19, the day before Clinical Data announced it would buy the company.

The acquisition is expected to close late this year or early in 2006. The aggregate purchase price could fluctuate, depending on Clinical Data’s common stock price, but will in no case be less than $10 million or more than $12.5 million.

Clinical Data estimates that between 5,000 and 6,000 medical practices make up the current US market for its products. “We believe the market is actually much bigger,” with a potential of 10,000 to 15,000 doctors’ offices, says Mark Shooman, senior VP and CFO of Clinical Data. Genaissance and Clinical Data are “not yet” collaborating on a product, he says.

— Chris Womack

 

PATENT WATCH

US Patent 6,939,674. Medicine response assay in respiratory disease. Inventors: Wayne Anderson, Lisa Edwards, Amanda Emmett, Sreekumar Pillai, Catherine Sprankle. Assignee: SmithKline Beecham. Issued: September 6, 2005.

This invention describes correlations between polymorphisms in the 5-lipoxygenase gene or in the leukotriene C4 synthase gene with a subject’s phenotypic response to treatment with a leukotriene receptor antagonist for respiratory disease. The patent covers methods of screening subjects to aid in treatment, and methods of screening therapeutic compounds for pharmaceutical activity.

 

US Patent 6,949,371. Isolated human drug-metabolizing proteins, nucleic acid molecules encoding human drug-metabolizing proteins, and uses thereof. Inventors: Gennady Merkulov, Chunhua Yan, Valentina Di Francesco, Ellen Beasley. Assignee: Applera Corporation. Issued: September 27, 2005.

According to the abstract, the present invention “specifically provides isolated peptide and nucleic acid molecules, methods of identifying orthologs and paralogs of the drug-metabolizing enzyme peptides, and methods of identifying modulators of the drug-metabolizing enzyme peptides.”

 

Laboratory Corporation of America is offering a new comparative genomic hybridization service, using arrays based on Spectral Genomics’ CGH platform, to diagnose more than 80 genetic mutations associated with mental retardation and learning disabilities.

 

Gene Logic will help Pfizer find new therapeutic indications for a number of stalled drug candidates using genomics and in silico technologies. Gene Logic will be eligible for milestone payments and royalties on drugs that are commercialized as a result.

 

The University of Oxford and GE Healthcare have entered into a two-year collaboration with approximately $1.5 million per year from GE to improve colorectal cancer diagnostics and prognostics.

 

Illumina will develop a custom SNP-genotyping BeadChip for the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium. Researchers at Sanger plan to use the chips to genotype more than 5,000 samples to study four common disease phenotypes.

 

Genaissance has licensed its HAP genotyping technology to Sankyo of Japan; the two firms aim to discover and validate genetic markers related to drug response and create a diagnostic test to guide therapy.

 

Datapoint

$150 million

The National Institutes of Health have pledged more than $150 million over five years to 12 groups under its renewed Pharmacogenetics Research Network initiative.

 

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.