Picking up a Chip
March 2012
by David Hutton  |  Email the author


NEW YORK—Predicting genetic testing company Signal Genetics recently announced it will acquire the assets of ChipDX LLC to add diagnostic products in development for lung, breast and colon cancers.
Financial terms of the agreement have not been released.  
Signal makes a prognostic test for multiple myeloma called MyPRS Plus, and will use its sales team to bring ChipDX's products to market, the company said. ChipDX's BreastGeneDX, ColonGeneDX and LungGeneDX products are designed to determine patients' cancer risk levels.  
"The acquisition of the intellectual property and patents of ChipDX dramatically expands and enhances our oncology pipeline," Signal Genetics CEO Joe Hernandez says. "The addition of ChipDX's bioinformatics capabilities drastically reduces our time to market with novel molecular tests designed to facilitate better patient outcomes at a lower cost profile."
Hernandez says the transaction "adds innovative intellectual property, including patented prognostic tests for lung, breast and colon cancers, as well as additional biologics expertise and a web-based interface to Signal Genetics' oncology portfolio. "   
ChipDX is a privately held molecular diagnostics and personalized medicine company based in New York. It was founded and is currently led by Dr. Ryan VanLaar, who will join Signal Genetics as the head of its Bioinformatics division.  
VanLaar says teaming up with Signal Genetics provides his company with a vehicle to ultimately commercialize its strong portfolio of predictive molecular diagnostic tests. "I look forward to leveraging the experience gained in the development of ChipDX to help Signal Genetics achieve its goals, and ultimately improve patient outcomes," he adds.  
Hernandez explains that Signal Genetics' forte is the development and commercialization of predictive and prognostic genomic tests for the treatment of various types of cancer—and the acquisition of ChipDX enhances and complements the company's product portfolio.  
"This acquisition is part of our strategy to build on our proprietary, algorithm-based prognostic and predictive genetic tests on the market and in development to expand our oncology portfolio," Hernandez says. "Our objective is to provide crucial services for doctors to identify best course of treatment for individual patients in our areas of focus, which now include myeloma, colon, breast, lung and prostate—areas that make up a large global market."   
With a solid footprint in oncology, ChipDX proved to be an attractive acquisition because of its work in various types of cancer, including most recently for its work on the BreastGeneDX prognostic test.  
"We currently have two tests on the market and that are covered by Medicare and private payers— MyPRS Plus, the only prognostic genomic test for multiple myeloma on the market, and Previstage GCC, an innovative test to determine if colon cancer is at an advanced stage and its likelihood of recurrence," he says. "With this transaction, Signal acquired additional diagnostic and prognostic tests in development for breast, colon and lung cancers (as well as related patents) that we believe offer great promise for cancer patients."
Signal Genetics will also acquire ChipDX's web-based interface, which will be used to enhance Signal's physician web portal and allow for remote interpretation of test algorithms.  
Going forward, Hernandez says success of the acquisition will be gauged by the driving adoption of these innovative tests over time.
"We think there is an undeniable need to identify high risk patients early on to aggressively target cancers," he says. "Our acquisition of ChipDX augments our clinically-driven bioinformatics capabilities, and will help us to facilitate better patient outcomes and more appropriate use of financial resources."
Code: E031213

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