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Prometheus to Sell Rosetta Genomics' Tests; Takes Equity Stake

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Prometheus Laboratories has licensed US rights to Rosetta Genomics' recently introduced microRNA-based tests and has taken an equity stake in the molecular diagnostics firm.

San Diego-based Prometheus has gained the right to sell the miRview mets, miRview squamous, and miRview meso, which Rosetta launched in late 2008. It will provide Rosetta with payments, either in the form of milestones or R&D funding, and royalties based on net sales in the US.

Prometheus also purchased 2 million shares of Rosetta stock at $4 per share — a roughly 41 percent premium to Rosetta's closing price over the three previous business days. Rosetta's shares closed Friday at $2.78 on the Nasdaq. As of the end of 2008, the firm had around 12.2 million shares outstanding, but it did not say whether Prometheus' purchase came from those shares already outstanding or from the issuance of new shares.

In addition, the firms said that they would collaborate on the development of two new microRNA-based tests for gastroenterology conditions. Prometheus will fund development of the tests and may make additional milestone and royalty payments to Rosetta.

"We believe these three molecular diagnostic tests can help oncologists personalize therapy and are ideally suited to lead our entry into the oncology market, while complementing our emerging internal oncology diagnostics program," Prometheus President and CEO Joseph Limber said in a statement.

In early Monday trade, shares of Rosetta Genomics were up 26 percent at $3.50.

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