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Biocartis, BioMérieux End MDx Alliance

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Biocartis and BioMérieux on Thursday announced a mutual agreement to end their alliance to develop and commercialize the integrated molecular biology system called Idylla.

All rights to the platform, formerly called Apollo and developed by Biocartis in collaboration with Philips Corporate Technologies, will be returned to Biocartis, which will have all rights to Idylla now related to its use in the microbiology field, Biocartis said. The company also is free to explore new strategic options for the platform in the microbiology field, it added.

Biocartis acquired the Idylla technology platform for fully automated DNA/RNA MDx testing from Royal Philips Electronics in 2010.

Biocartis and BioMérieux entered into a strategic alliance later that year to co-develop assays on the Idylla system. As part of the deal, BioMérieux also took a €9 million stake – about $13 million at the time – in Biocartis. BioMérieux said on Thursday that it remains a Biocartis shareholder.

The partnership between the two firms had been up in the air since September when BioMérieux announced it was buying BioFire Diagnostics for $450 million plus BioFire’s debt.

At the time of the transaction, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year or in early 2014, BioMérieux and Biocartis said they would be reviewing their alliance, but BioMérieux also told PCR Insider that the BioFire business would serve as a molecular diagnostics hub for the company.

In its statement on Thursday, BioMérieux said that with its deal with Biocartis ending, the company will “focus its R&D and [sales and marketing] resources and investments on other molecular biology programs.” It said it will target nucleic acid extraction and the diagnosis of infectious diseases.

In the medium term, it added, it will “finalize the acquisition of BioFire.”

Biocartis CEO Rudi Pauwels said in his firm’s statement that it will “definitely keep microbiology assays in the menu of tests on the Idylla platform, either through internal developments or via a new partner.”

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