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Qiagen Expands Dx Footprint by Acquiring Stake in Alacris, EyeSense

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Qiagen said today that it has acquired a minority stake in Alacris Theranostics, a startup using whole-genome sequence analysis to develop individualized cancer therapies.

Qiagen has also acquired a minority stake in EyeSense, a developer of ophthalmic diagnostic systems for glucose monitoring of diabetes patients, EyeSense said in a separate announcement.

Under the terms of the agreement with Berlin-based Alacris, Qiagan has gained an exclusive option to all biomarkers that might emerge from the company's discovery program. Alacris will be entitled to royalties from the commercialization of the biomarkers. Additional financial terms were not disclosed.

Alacris was founded by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics and Harvard Medical School. The company uses a proprietary modeling system called ModCell that was developed at MPI-MG to analyze clinical sample data based on next-generation sequencing and other whole-genome sequencing technologies.

According to Qiagen, ModCell can identify markers that can help guide treatment or stratify patient populations for clinical trials. The company said that it could format these markers into real-time PCR-based assays that it would commercialize through its Therascreen molecular diagnostics portfolio for use on its QIAsymphony RGQ platform.

In the EyeSense deal, meantime, the companies plan to develop a new optical measurement technology for blood glucose monitoring by diabetes patients. Under the terms of the agreement, Qiagen has taken a minority equity stake in the firm and has gained royalty rights for future commercialization.

The new system will be based on EyeSense's glucose sensing technology and Qiagen's ESE fluorescence-based optical technology and is intended to allow patients to monitor their disease more easily than with current methods. The companies plan to launch the new device in 2013.

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