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Oxford BioDynamics Inks Business Development Partnership for China; Gains $12.6M Investment

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Oxford BioDynamics announced today that it has formed a strategic alliance with Shanghai-based private equity firm GL Capital Group to help it establish a footprint in China.

Under the terms of the deal, GL Capital will lead Oxford BioDynamics' business development activities in mainland China. In the role, GL Capital will identify, screen, and recommend potential partners for Oxford BioDynamics' epigenetic biomarkers and technology.

Additionally, GL Capital has agreed to take a roughly 5 percent stake in UK-based Oxford BioDynamics, purchasing 4,688,000 shares for £9.7 million ($12.6 million), and will receive a seat on Oxford BioDynamics' board. GL Capital has also been granted the right of first refusal to participate and invest in Oxford BioDynamics' business operations in China.

Additional terms were not disclosed.

"We identified Asia as a core focus for international expansion, and this cooperation agreement will allow us to address the many opportunities that we see in this region," Oxford BioDynamics CEO Christian Hoyer Millar said in a statement. "We have been impressed by the depth of scientific and commercial understanding GL have shown in our interactions to date, and we are convinced that they are the right strategic partner as we begin to engage with the important Chinese market."

Oxford BioDynamics has developed a platform — dubbed EpiSwitch — for discovering, evaluating, validating, and monitoring a class of epigenetic biomarkers called chromosome conformation signatures (CCSs), which the company says provide a framework for analyzing changes in genomic regulation before the results of epigenetic changes manifest themselves.

Earlier this year, Oxford BioDynamics and collaborators at Pfizer and the University of Glasgow reported using EpiSwitch to identify patients likely to respond poorly to Pfizer's rheumatoid arthritis drug methotrexate. Oxford BioDynamics also recently partnered with Holos to develop biomarkers of sports-related concussions.

Oxford BioDynamics said it intends to use GL Capital's equity investment to commercialize EpiSwitch worldwide, build out its operations in the UK and other countries, and develop additional intellectual property around CCSs and the use of its technology in health and wellness.