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Retroscreen Buys Proteomics Firm Activiomics for $6.7M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Retroscreen Virology Group today announced it has acquired proteomics firm Activiomics for up to £4.0 million ($6.7 million).

In connection with the deal, Retroscreen is issuing up to £4.0 million of new ordinary shares of £.05 each of its stock, it said.

Headquartered in the UK, Retroscreen calls itself a "viral challenge and 'virometrics' specialist," while Activiomics, also based in the UK, has developed a technology for identifying protein biomarkers. Retroscreen said that Activiomics' technology called TIQUAS will help it "to mine its biological samples for novel insights into target diseases." The acquisition, it added, is part of a strategy to build its testing and data analytical capabilities following a £25.5 million raise in June last year.

The ability to data mine proprietary samples will increase Retroscreen's ability to build "robust and accessible bioscientific databases," it said. "These can be applied across a wide range of products and services in the quest to stratify disease and enable a more tailored approach to patient therapy through the identification of biomarkers, leading to the development of new therapies and diagnostics."

Activiomics was founded in 2010 as a spinout of Barts and the London Medical School, which is part of Queen Mary University of London. TIQUAS is a mass spectrometry-based platform for identifying protein biomarkers in clinical samples. The technology is based on Thermo Fisher Scientific's Orbitrap Velos mass spec platform and allows for label-free proteomic and phosphoproteomic profiling.

Activiomics CEO Kevin FitzGerald told ProteoMonitor in October that the company was looking to raise about $13 million in order to build its internal biomarker pipeline and expand the services it offers to include collaborative companion diagnostic research.

For its Fiscal Year 2013, which ended July 31, 2013, Activiomics reported a loss after tax of £500,000 and net assets of £300,000.

The £4.0 million consideration is for all of Activiomics' issued share capital. A £3.08 million initial consideration is payable on the date of the transaction, and £710,000 will be paid on the first anniversary of the date of the transaction, subject to certain conditions and warranties being satisfied. Retroscreen is issuing 996,901 new ordinary shares to Activiomics' shareholders in settlement of the initial consideration.

"This technology acquisition is a vital step on our journey to unlock the tremendous potential within our proprietary biological samples to gain new insights into key diseases including flu, [human rhinoviruses] and [respiratory syncytial virus]," Retroscreen CEO Kym Denny said in a statement. "It will also allow us to accelerate our drive to explore other disease areas including asthma and COPD."