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Amarantus Inks Deal to Merge Dx Unit with Avant Diagnostics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Amarantus Bioscience Holdings announced today that it has signed a letter of intent to merge its Amarantus Diagnostics subsidiary with Avant Diagnostics.

Upon the close of the merger, Avant will issue Amarantus Bio 80 million shares of its common stock, representing roughly 45 percent of the combined company's outstanding shares. Avant will also issue Amarantus Bio 10 million additional shares upon the achievement of undisclosed sales milestones. Amarantus will further have the right to appoint two directors to Avant's board.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

The merger will give Avant access to Amarantus' MSPrecise neuroimmunology-based next-gen sequencing diagnostic assay for multiple sclerosis and its LymPro Test neuroimmunology-based flow cytometry assay for Alzheimer's disease, both of which are currently for research use only.

Avant — which was originally founded by microarray vendor Arrayit as Arrayit Diagnostics but changed its name when it was acquired by American Liberty Petroleum Corp. in 2014 — is currently developing OvaDx, an investigational microarray-based ovarian cancer diagnostic.

"After exploring numerous avenues for implementing Avant's OvaDx development and commercialization strategy, it is clear that combining Avant's and Amarantus' diagnostic assets and core competencies form a platform that provides maximum value to our collective shareholders," Avant President and CEO Gregg Linn said in a statement.

"The collective diagnostic assets will create a truly unique opportunity to implement our respective missions of saving and enhancing lives through early detection of disease in oncology and neurology," he added. "The combined companies will enjoy additional benefits by creating a unique platform to showcase the power diagnostics have to reduce costs and improve outcomes in the healthcare system." 

Following the merger, Amarantus will maintain a pipeline of therapeutics and regenerative medicine product candidates including the Phase II Parkinson's disease drug eltoprazine and an engineered skin substitute for severe burns.