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Sequenom to Acquire MDx Assets from SensiGen for $8.7M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sequenom said today that it has signed an agreement to acquire SensiGen's portfolio of AttoSense genetic tests, as well as certain other assets, for $8.7 million in cash and stock.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sequenom will acquire all of SensiGen's currently developed assays, including the AttoSense HPV-G and HPV-Q tests for cervical cancer, AttoSense HPV-C for head and neck cancer, the AttoSense Kidney Test, and the EpiSense Lupus Panel, along with certain other assets and intellectual property rights.

The total purchase price of $8.7 million includes future earn-out milestone payments, Sequenom said.

Sequenom has been collaborating since 2007 with the privately held firm on the development of assays that run on its MassArray platform. Last year, as part of an expansion of that agreement, Sequenom gained the right to a minority equity interest in SensiGen.

Harry Stylli, president and CEO of Sequenom, said in a statement that the addition of SensiGen's AttoSense tests is a "key step" toward the company's goal of building its portfolio of diagnostics for women's health and cancer.

Stylli said that the company plans to market the AttoSense tests "in the near term" as laboratory developed tests through the Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine, a CLIA-certified lab in Grand Rapids, Mich., that it acquired in November.

Longer term, Stylli said, the company would consider selling the tests as in vitro diagnostics.

Sequenom's ability to offer the tests directly to healthcare providers "could allow for significantly broader and more rapid commercialization than we could achieve on our own," said Shawn Marcell, president and CEO of SensiGen, in a statement.

Stylli noted that although Sequenom views the AttoSense tests as "a future growth opportunity," the company "remains keenly focused on the noninvasive prenatal diagnostic franchise and in particular our Down syndrome technology. As such, the cost of further development of the AttoSense assays will be immaterial to our overall R&D spend."

The acquisition is Sequenom's second offer since the beginning of the year. On Jan. 12, the firm made a bid to buy Exact Sciences for $1.50 a share, or around $41 million, in an all-stock transaction.

Exact's board refused to accept the offer, but Sequenom reaffirmed its offer the following week.

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