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Myriad Genetics Invests $25M in Crescendo Bio with Option to Acquire

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Myriad Genetics announced after the close of the market on Thursday that it has made a $25 million debt investment into Crescendo Bioscience and secured a three-year option to purchase the developer of molecular diagnostics targeting autoimmune diseases.

Separate from Myriad's investment, Crescendo said that it had completed its $31 million in Series C equity financing.

Based in South San Francisco, Calif., Crescendo develops molecular diagnostic tests for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and according to the companies, its Vectra DA is the only blood-based molecular diagnostic available that measures the level of disease activity in patients with RA. The test comprises 12 biomarkers and offers a baseline assessment of disease after diagnosis "so that a patient's disease progression can be tracked by a physician and appropriate intervention can be made at the optimal time," Myriad and Crescendo said.

The potential acquisition of Crescendo would expand Myriad's portfolio of tests and add rheumatology as a sixth disease specialty to the Salt Lake City firm's strategic focus, which currently includes oncology, preventative care, urology, dermatology, and neuroscience, Myriad said.

Myriad CEO Peter Meldrum said in a statement that Crescendo was identified "as a franchise with strong potential; one which we believe can transform the management of chronic inflammatory diseases."

The $25 million loan the company is providing to Crescendo carries an interest rate of 6 percent.

Myriad's option to purchase Crescendo may be exercised if it attains minimum revenue milestones during the three-year option period. If those milestones are achieved, the sales price would be based on a predetermined multiple of revenue based on the growth rate of Crescendo at the time of the option exercise.

If the milestones are not met, Myriad will have a one-time right to acquire Crescendo for a fixed purchase price in lieu of the formula price, Myriad said.

The purchase price will be all cash in either case, it added.

The deal comes three months after Myriad completed its $80 million purchase of Rules-Based Medicine.

Crescendo also said today that it completed its $31 million Series C financing round, which was led by aeris Capital. Existing investors Mohr Davidow Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and other investors also participated.

The financing round along with Myriad's loan "will help us accelerate the commercialization of Vectra DA and expand our pipeline of molecular diagnostic products for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases," William Hagstrom, CEO of Crescendo, said in a statement.