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Guardant Health to Acquire Bellwether Bio

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) - Guardant Health said today that it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Bellwether Bio, a privately held firm formed two years ago to advance a method for early blood-based cancer detection that relies on detecting epigenetic signals in circulating cell free DNA.

Under the agreement, the Bellwether Bio team, which includes University of Washington professor Jay Shendure, will join the effort to advance Guardant’s own early detection product pipeline dubbed LUNAR. Guardant said Shendure will act as a scientific advisor.

Financial terms of the deal, expected to close in April, were not disclosed.

Seattle-based Bellwether was formed to commercialize research on nucleosome positioning and fragmentomics, which was described in Cell in 2016 by investigators at UW.

"We are excited to welcome the Bellwether team and believe they will enhance our product pipeline as we seek to expand precision oncology to earlier stages of disease," Guardant Health President and Co-founder AmirAli Talasaz said in a statement. "Our early research has shown the strong potential impact of incorporating biologically relevant epigenomic information on the clinical performance of blood tests for early-stage cancer detection."

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