Invitae Corp. has inked a definitive agreement to acquire Genosity Inc., a genomics company with a technology platform for next-generation sequencing (NGS) assays, for approximately $200 million in cash and stock. Separately, the medical genetic testing company reported a $1.15 billion investment, led by Softbank Group subsidiary SB Management, to support ongoing growth initiatives. San Francisco-based Invitae expects the Genosity platform to accelerate the development and launch of its oncology products, including three tests that won FDA breakthrough device designation.
Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., in part because many cases aren’t diagnosed until they are advanced. Bluestar Genomics Inc. wants to change that with its epigenomics technology which can detect early pancreatic cancer from a standard blood draw by analyzing cell-free DNA in plasma. Now, the FDA has provided a bump, granting breakthrough device designation to Bluestar’s noninvasive pancreatic cancer detection test in patients with new-onset diabetes. According to the San Diego-based startup, of an estimated 60,000 patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the U.S., nearly a fourth are found to have new-onset diabetes prior to receiving their cancer diagnosis.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking to block Illumina Inc.’s $7.1 billion purchase of Grail Inc., claiming the deal will “diminish innovation in the U.S. market” for multicancer early detection (MCED) tests, which could be used to flag dozens of tumor types when they are still treatable. Illumina has vowed to “pursue all legal options” to complete its acquisition of Grail, arguing that it does not compete with Grail and is committed to providing “unfettered access” to its NGS technology.