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Biocartis, Exact Sciences Terminate Oncotype DX Agreement

This article has been updated to reflect the alliance has been scrapped and to add a comment from Biocartis.

NEW YORK – Belgian molecular diagnostics firm Biocartis said on Thursday that it and Exact Sciences have agreed to terminate a deal with Exact subsidiary Genomic Health to develop an in vitro diagnostic version of the Oncotype Dx Breast Recurrence Score test. The announcement comes less than a day after Biocartis said that the firms were discussing a possible termination.

As part of the 2017 agreement, the firms had planned to develop the Oncotype Dx assay on Biocartis' Idylla platform, which would have allowed customers to perform the assay locally in their own lab facilities.

The Oncotype Dx Breast Recurrence Score measures the activity of 21 genes – 16 cancer-related genes and five reference genes – in patients' tumor tissue, offering a score that indicates the risk of recurrence and helping to guide clinical decisions about whether to use adjuvant treatment.

Biocartis had previously noted in its H1 2020 earnings call that it suspended the partnership with Exact Sciences to develop the assay due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"We regret that this collaboration has ended, but we respect the decision that has been made by Exact Sciences," Biocartis CEO Herman Verrelst said in a statement. "The impact of this termination to our future growth is contained, as the collaboration was limited to the European market in which we already offer a comprehensive menu of tests to our well-established customer base. Also, this termination will have no impact on our ambitions to grow in the US and in our export markets. Similarly, the termination will not affect the financial performance in 2020 other than as a result of the settlement." 

Shares of Biocartis were down 20 percent at €3.33 ($3.88) on the Euronext Brussels exchange in late Thursday afternoon trading in Belgium. Shares of Exact Sciences were down nearly 6 percent at $120.40 in early afternoon trading on the Nasdaq.  

Exact Sciences announced earlier this week that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire liquid biopsy test developer Thrive Earlier Detection for cash and stock consideration of up to $2.15 billion, and that it has acquired DNA methylation analysis company Base Genomics for $410 million.

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