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Exact Sciences Acquires Sample Preservation Technology Provider Biomatrica

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Exact Sciences announced today that it has acquired Biomatrica, a developer, manufacturer, and provider of sample preservation technology, including blood and saliva sample collection tubes.

Biomatrica's sample collection tubes contain proprietary, sample-stabilizing chemistry that ensures the quality preservation of circulating tumor DNA, cells, and other biomarkers in biological specimens throughout shipment and storage. Exact said it intends to use Biomatrica's technology to support the ongoing and future development of its own blood-based cancer detection tests.

Under the terms of the acquisition, San Diego-based Biomatrica will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Exact Sciences and will continue to supply tubes and sample preservation technologies to other companies. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"To detect cancer at its earliest stages, you need the right team backed by the highest-quality science, data and materials," Exact Chairman and CEO Kevin Conroy said in a statement. "Biomatrica's preservation chemistry ensures the reliability of results, even when blood and other biological samples undergo the stresses of shipping and storage."

Nick Ecos, Biomatrica's former CEO and current general manager, added that Exact has been a customer of the firm for some time, and that the acquisition will allow Biomatrica to "deploy our capabilities in Exact Sciences' early cancer screening pipeline as well as with our expanding client base in diagnostics and consumer genomics."

In a note to investors, William Blair analyst Brian Weinstein said that the rationale for the deal is not surprising. "As Exact Sciences gains additional comfort and confidence in its pipeline capabilities, we believe it is aggressively looking for ways to optimize its future products in any way possible and the collection tubes are a critical component of that effort," he wrote.

Overall, Weinstein added, the deal will be immaterial to revenue but marks an important step for Exact because it shows the firm's growing confidence in its own pipeline. "This is important as the valuation clearly has something in it for pipeline success and this does nothing to shake us from the view that that is a reasonable assumption," he noted, and reiterated the bank's Outperform rating on Exact's shares.

Earlier this year, the firm acquired diagnostics developer Armune Bioscience in a move that was also seen as an investment in its pipeline. At the time, Conroy noted that Armune's technology would aid Exact's development of tests for cancer including lung and liver cancer, and that its protein biomarkers would complement Exact's DNA methylation markers.

Exact's stock was down about 1 percent to $65.23 in morning trading on the Nasdaq.