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Celera Still Looking for Deals to Further MDx Strategy

SAN FRANCISCO (GenomeWeb News) – Reiterating comments she made at the UBS Global Life Sciences Conference in September, Celera CEO Kathy Ordoñez said Wednesday that the firm is actively seeking acquisition opportunities to further its molecular diagnostic opportunities.

The firm had over $300 million in cash on its balance sheet as of the end of the third quarter. Speaking at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference here, Ordoñez said that with the integrations of Berkeley HeartLab and Atria completed, Celera could now turn its attention to pursuing new deals – either acquisitions or alliances.

She said Celera is looking at three types of opportunities: licensing in diagnostic markers, acquiring technology platforms for furthering its molecular diagnostics strategy, or acquiring another CLIA lab, as it had done with Berkeley HeartLab. And according to Ordoñez, there are firms that have been calling her to discuss potential deals, though she didn't name any of those.

In October, the firm reported that its third-quarter revenues rose 284 percent to $45.8 million, with roughly two-thirds of that amount coming from BHL. About $10.5 million had come from the sale of molecular diagnostic products, primarily its cystic fibrosis assay and ViroSeq assay for HIV genotyping.

BHL's revenues have been bolstered by the launch of its KIF6 test service, which identifies a gene variant associated with risk for heart disease and statin benefit and was introduced in July. Ordoñez said that as of the end of the year, 70,000 of the tests had been ordered.

She also noted that the firm is in the process of rolling out a cheek-swab version of the test, called StatinCheck, through a direct-to-physician campaign. In addition, Celera intends to develop a KIF6 test kit that it will submit for US Food and Drug Administration clearance.

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