A Medical Device Daily

Mid-market British private equity group Duke Street (London) said this week that it has completed the acquisition of French medical diagnostics firm Biomnis (Paris) for 1217 million ($271.5 million).

The deal is being financed with senior debt provided by Fortis and a mezzanine facility that is being arranged by AXA Mezzanine.

Biomnis, formerly known as Laboratoire Marcel Merieux, specializes in diagnostic services and pathological analysis in the fields of molecular diagnostics, tissue, fertility treatment and specialized biochemistry.

The acquisition of Biomnis adds to Duke Street's existing healthcare portfolio, which includes dentistry group Oasis Healthcare (Norwich, UK), regional psychiatric hospitals operator Affinity Healthcare (Cheadle, UK) and Paris-based hospital operator Groupe Proclif.

Biomnis CEO Jean-Louis Oger will take up the role of non-executive chairman while Duke Street operating partners Charles Woler and Thierry Paternot will join the board as non-executive directors.

Pierre-Yves Guiavarch, who will assume the role of CEO, will join from Generale de Sante, a large French healthcare provider.

Accord reached on cancer research

InteRNA Technologies (Bilthoven, the Netherlands) and VU University Medical Center (VUmc; Amsterdam, the Netherlands), reported the signing of a framework research agreement to develop microRNA (miRNA)-based diagnostics and therapeutics for cancer using InteRNA's proprietary library of miRNAs.

Under the collaboration, InteRNA will apply its lentiviral-based miRNA overexpression library in multi-parametric, high-throughput screening assays to identify the biological role of individual miRNAs and therapeutic targets in leukemia, colon, prostate, and head and neck cancer.

In addition, diagnostic miRNA profiles will be developed through next-generation sequencing, in combination with InteRNA's small RNA bioinformatics pipeline, miR-Intess, on diverse patient sample sets provided by VUmc.

"We are ... excited about the opportunity of combining profiling and functional screens based on our proprietary miRNA library in the diverse research projects," said Roel Schaapveld, COO of InteRNA. "This research collaboration with renowned investigators at several departments embedded within the Cancer Center Amsterdam at the VUmc will significantly boost our discovery programs."

Professor Gerrit Meijer of VUmc said, "This collaboration enables us to find new microRNA-based biomarkers for tumor progression as well as to develop opportunities for pharmacological intervention in a range of malignant diseases."

European patents for DXL technology

InNexus Biotechnology (Vancouver, British Columbia), a drug development company commercializing what it calls "the next generation of monoclonal antibodies," based on its Dynamic Cross Linking (DXL) technology, said it has received patent grants in Germany, Spain, France, Great Britain and Italy, further expanding patent protection of the DXL technology in Europe.

The patents, titled "Method of Affinity Cross-Linking Biologically Active, Immunogenic Peptides to Antibodies," relate to the company's ability to create, develop and manufacture antibodies based on the DXL technology platform.

"Our patent portfolio provides potential for future royalty and licensing deals or outright sales of our expanding and maturing family of DXL pre-clinical candidates," said Chairman/CEO Jeff Morhet.