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DxNA to Acquire Pathogene as Companies Finalize Licensing Deal for Staph Assay

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DxNA, a privately owned St. George, Utah-based molecular diagnostics firm, will acquire privately held Flagstaff, Ariz.-based Pathogene for an undisclosed amount under an agreement inked by the companies this week.

The companies concurrently finalized an exclusive licensing agreement giving DxNA the rights to run PathoGene's multiplexed Staphylococcus MRSA+ assay on DxNA's real-time PCR-based GeneStat platform, an agreement the companies first disclosed in May (PCR Insider, 5/9/2013).

The planned acquisition, outlined in a letter of intent signed by the firms, is expected to occur in the next six months contingent on the satisfactory completion of due diligence and other contingencies, the companies said. Financial and other terms were not disclosed.

Meantime, terms of the licensing agreement include upfront and milestone payments as well as ongoing royalties, the companies said.

DxNA's GeneStat is a cartridge-based system for performing DNA- and/or RNA-based multiplexed real-time PCR assays to detect infectious disease agents in humans and animals, and to detect biological contaminants in the environment. The company said that the system accepts a number of sample types and can be run with minimal training in either laboratory or field settings.

Meantime, PathoGene's Staphylococcus MRSA+ assay simultaneously identifies and differentiates three of the most common pathogens of hospital-acquired, surgical site, medical device, and skin and soft tissue infections, in about an hour. The test is different from current commercially available assays for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus because it includes multi-drug-resistant coagulase-negative Staphylococcus strains, which are much more common infections than MRSA, the companies said.

"Pathogene's novel approach with this Staph assay provides rapid clinical answers that impact patient care, costs, and outcomes, making the assay an ideal complement to our GeneStat platform," DxNA President and CEO David Taus said in a statement. "The use of the assay for diagnostics represents a combined $650 million market opportunity in the US and the EU."

PathoGene is a 2008 spinout of the Translational Genomics Institute and Northern Arizona University. The company was founded to develop PCR-based assays for difficult-to-treat and drug-resistant infectious diseases (PCR Insider, 8/19/2010).

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