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Life Technologies Acquires Consumer Genetics Testing Firm Navigenics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies has acquired consumer genetic testing firm Navigenics, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company announced after the close of the market on Monday.

The deal, according to Life Tech, represents its "first step in executing against a strategy to build out its molecular diagnostics business through internal development, partnerships, and select acquisitions." Further, the company said, the purchase provides it with Navigenics' expertise, including its technology infrastructure, user interfaces, online platforms, genomic services, and experience as it plans to develop and offer laboratory-developed tests and commercial assays that are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulators.

The deal also provides Life Tech with a CLIA-certified laboratory, and the firm said that the lab will allow it to continue partnering with pharmaceutical firms for companion diagnostics development, including participation in clinical trials

In October, it and GlaxoSmithKline announced a deal to develop companion diagnostics for the drug firm's MAGE-A3 cancer immunotherapy candidate.

Based in San Francisco, Navigenics was founded in 2006 and develops and commercializes genetics-based products and services.

"The advent of personalized medicine will require a combination of technologies and informatics focused on delivering relevant information to the treating physician," Ronnie Andrews, president of Medical Sciences at Life Technologies, said in a statement. "Navigenics has pioneered the synthesis and communication of complex genomic information, and we will now pivot the company's effort to date and focus on becoming a comprehensive provider of technology and informatics to pathologists and oncologists worldwide."

Greg Lucier, chairman and CEO of Life Tech, added that complex diseases require the interpretation of genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic data. "Life Technologies is the only company in the industry today with the breadth of technology to span the full continuum of diagnostic information necessary to effectively manage such diseases," he said. "The Navigenics informatics platform allows us to now transform the data from our instrument systems into actionable information and deliver it in real time to physicians around the world."

Life Tech said that Navigenics Health Compass personal genomics services will honor existing commitments but will not accept new business.

Financial and other terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The announcement is the latest by Life Tech as it steps further into the diagnostics space. Last month, it said it is collaborating with Boston Children's Hospital to develop next-generation sequencing workflows in a CLIA and CAP certified laboratory. The same month it announced a deal with the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto to collaborate on clinical sequencing studies and to co-develop sequencing workflows and protocols for the Ion Proton sequencing platform.

In May 2011, it said it would help Gen-Probe, which is being acquired by Hologic, to obtain FDA clearance for transplant diagnostic and other assays to be run on Life Tech's 3500 Dx Genetic Analyzer capillary electrophoresis sequencer, as GenomeWeb Daily News' sister publication Clinical Sequencing News reported.

In trading on the Nasdaq this morning, shares of Life Tech were down a fraction of 1 percent at $43.03.

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