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Centogene Gets $30M Loan From Lifera, Forms Saudi Arabian JV to Broaden Access to Multiomic Testing

NEW YORK – Centogene announced on Tuesday that it has entered a strategic collaboration with new biopharmaceutical company Lifera to create a joint venture based in Saudi Arabia and is receiving a $30 million convertible loan investment. 

The joint venture is intended to provide multiomic testing to patients, health systems, biopharma clients, and research institutions in Saudi Arabia and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Centogene said in a statement. GCC members include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

The joint venture will build an advanced laboratory and bioinformatics infrastructure using Centogene's Biodatabank, a multiomic data repository with more than 70 million datasets. 

The joint venture will also work with Centogene to provide large national screening and genomics programs, the company said.

Under the deal, Centogene will receive a $30 million mandatory convertible loan from Lifera and will be eligible for more than $50 million in joint venture-related milestones and revenue-based royalties until 2033. The loan will convert before 2024 into common stock of Centogene at a conversion price of $2.20.

Both Centogene and Lifera will be represented on the board of the joint venture, and two Lifera representatives will join Centogene's supervisory board, Centogene said. Lifera, which develops local manufacturing capacity for vaccines, insulin, plasma therapeutics, and other biologics and invests in genetic testing and precision medicine, is wholly owned by the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based Public Investment Fund.

"With Centogene's expertise in the field of rare, metabolic, and neurodegenerative diseases, we see tremendous potential value for the JV to provide more timely and accurate diagnoses which are crucial to patients and their families, driven by a comprehensive diagnostic portfolio that goes beyond standard laboratory testing and medical interpretation," said Ibrahim Aljufalli, Lifera's chairman of the board. "This collaboration will also enable biopharma research in rare diseases and provide resources to foster collaborative research across Saudi Arabia and with global partners."

The deal represents a welcome shot in the arm for Centogene, which said last month that it had €36.0 million in cash and cash equivalents left at the end of 2022, resulting in "uncertainty about the company's ability to continue as a going concern."