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In Brief This Week: Roka Bioscience, Hologic; Almac; Eurofins; Quest Diagnostics; Interleukin; and More

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Roka Bioscience said in its Form 10-Q this week that it exercised an option to reduce the royalty rate it pays to Hologic. As a result, Roka paid $8 million and issued 865,063 shares of its common stock to Hologic subsequent to the closing of Roka's initial public offering last month. The option was exercisable if Roka raised less than $55 million in net proceeds from the IPO. Net proceeds from the offering were about $53.4 million, Roka said in its SEC document.

The company's exercise of the option follows an amendment reached in June to a licensing agreement that Roka originally forged with Gen-Probe, which was acquired by Hologic in 2012. Under the amended agreement, Roka could exercise a two-year option to reduce the royalty rate it pays to Hologic in exchange for an option payment of $2.5 million. As of June 30, that payment had not been made, Roka said.

Also under the amended agreement, upon exercise of the option, Roka had to pay Hologic the $8 million and issue the shares of its stock within 10 days of the closing of the IPO. Roka must also pay Hologic $5 million in cash on Jan. 1, 2018 and $5 million in cash on Jan. 1, 2020. It also could pay Hologic additional milestone payments of up to $6 million to further reduce the royalty rate, it said.

Almac Group is investing £54 million ($90 million) and creating 348 "high–quality" jobs in Northern Ireland during the next five years, the firm said this week. Almac operates in the pharma/biotech space and provides services including drug discovery, diagnostics, R&D, and others. It currently employs more than 2,100 at its Craigavon, Northern Ireland headquarters and 1,380 at other facilities in the rest of the UK, US, and Asia. The investment relates to its pharma services and clinical services operating business units, it said.

Eurofins Genomics said that its ISO17025:2005-accredited service portfolio has been extended to include next-generation sequencing based on Illumina's technology and Roche's 454 platform. Eurofins received accreditation in 2007 for mass spectrometry-based DNA analysis and other molecular testing methods, such as Sanger sequencing, quantitative real-time PCR, and fragment length polymorphisms analysis.

Quest Diagnostics's board has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.33 per share payable on Oct. 22 to shareholders of record on Oct. 7.

Interleukin Genetics reported a 38 percent year-over-year drop in its second quarter revenues to $528,595 from $852,128 in the year-ago quarter. Genetic testing revenue fell to $483,214 from $849,422, while other revenues improved to $45,381 from $2,706. The company's net loss for the quarter was $1.6 million, or $.01 per share, compared to a net loss of $1.8 million, or $.02 per share, a year ago. Its R&D spending rose 15 percent year over year to $215,519 from $187,776, though its SG&A costs declined 6 percent to $1.5 million from $1.6 million. Interleukin exited the quarter with $4.2 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Genetic Technologies has reached a settlement with HistoGenetics. Terms of the settlement deal were not disclosed. GTG sued HistoGenetics in 2013 alleging infringement of patents held by GTG covering its non-coding DNA technologies.

Dow AgroSciences and the Agriculture Victoria Services have entered into a research license agreement to use Dow's Exzact Precision Genome Editing Technology Platform to improve the genetics of crops important to Australian producers. The project is part of an ongoing collaboration between the two that began in 2009. The new project will use Dow's platform to continue developing new varieties of canola with enhanced performance. AVS is the commercial arm of the Department of Environment and Primary Industries of the State of Victoria.

Intrexon completed its acquisition of bovine genetics firm Trans Ova Genetics for up to $110 million. The deal was announced last month.

In Brief This Week is a Friday column containing news items that our readers may have missed during the week.

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