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Nurturing the next generation
BEVERLY, Mass.—Enzymatics Inc., a producer of reagents, kits and assays, announced in September that it has acquired Boulder, Colo.-based ArcherDx Inc., a developer of innovative, next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based kits and software solutions for use in investigating cancer treatment, in a deal that consists of cash, equity and potential milestones worth as much as $50 million.
With the acquisition, Enzymatics says it is adding genomic capabilities that are complementary to its Enzymatics Supply Chain Solutions and Enzymatics Reagents groups, and it will greatly expand its new Enzymatics Diagnostics group with an innovative technology, kits and analytical software to provide hospitals, research institutions and other diagnostic providers with a total solution to rapidly and cost-effectively detect and assess genetic biomarkers. In addition, ArcherDx's technology reportedly has several advantages in copy number variation and translocation analyses, and results are obtained quicker than other current methods, offering a more cost-effective approach to healthcare.
According to Jon DiVincenzo, president and CEO of Enzymatics, an unprecedented growth in genomics for healthcare applications is fueling greater demand for faster, more accurate and more cost- effective sequencing applications.
"We are seeing double-digit growth in the placement of new sequencers every year and broad adoption of genomic technologies across clinical communities," noted DiVincenzo in the news release about the deal. "Enzymatics, which already supplies reagents and kits to approximately 80 percent of the NGS industry, together with ArcherDx, will bring novel sequencing applications more directly to clinical researchers."
"What we see is that NGS has been growing rapidly for last five or six years with a lot of that activity among researchers," he added in an interview with DDNews. "But what's made things more exciting is that we are beginning to see real adoption of sequencing in clinical settings. We're going from research to a place now where we can help pathologists, oncologists and others understand the clinical relevance of some of these NGS outputs and allow for medically actionable outcomes and really push personalized medicine forward."
It was late last year and early this year that the two companies came into close contact, DiVincenzo recalls, with ArcherDx approaching Enzymatics as a vendor with a desire to minimize its infrastructure costs.
"We work with a lot of startups and young companies with a lot of great technology for sequencing and informatics," he says. "But what happened in this case is that as we learned about Archer's technology, we became very excited. We've seen a lot of potential in a lot of companies, but this one stood out, and we saw that we could bring them from a component supplier to a solutions provider if we joined up."
Enzymatics is an ideal fit for ArcherDx, according to Dr. Jason Myers, co-founder and CEO of ArcherDx, who now has joined Enzymatics as chief scientific officer, because ArcherDx required extremely high-quality reagents for its products. Given his experience with the company as a customer, Myers expects that Enzymatics' "exceptional track record for providing unrivaled quality, responsiveness and flexibility to customers will help advance the ArcherDx technology toward successful commercialization."
"I think the partnership—this merger between us—really leads to strategic value, " Myers tells DDNews. "It allows these products to detect and assess genetic biomarkers to get to market quickly. Archer could have spent time to do that ourselves, but by merging into Enzymatics, I feel that we can pretty much double the output and potential by combining our strengths and resources. The goal is to product cost-effective, powerful sequencing solutions quickly so the world can have access to them. That's a common goal between the two companies and why our merger has been and will be successful."