Exact Sciences has purchased a German biotechnology startup to build on the capabilities of its advanced cancer screenings — including a blood-based, multi-cancer diagnostic test that’s undergoing clinical trials.
OmicEra Diagnostics creates tech that helps its clients research and and more reliably discover “biomarkers” that signal the presence of cancer in the human body. OmicEra’s field is in “proteomics,” or the large-scale analysis of proteins.
The deal closed Monday for approximately $15 million, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. OmicEra’s skilled teams are expected to deepen the Madison biomedical giant’s “proteomics profiling” abilities, said Exact associate director of corporate affairs Scott Larrivee in an email Tuesday afternoon.
In September 2020, Exact CEO Kevin Conroy unveiled preliminary data relating to the effectiveness of its blood-based test, also known as a “liquid biopsy” screening. Exact, with the help of the Mayo Clinic, has researched biomarkers for various cancers in blood for nearly a decade.
The early study found that the screening could identify between 83-87% of liver, lung, ovarian, pancreatic or stomach cancer cases — with a false positive rate of 5%.
Around 300,000 care providers and 200 large U.S. health systems additionally rely on Exact Sciences for its Cologuard and Oncotype DX tests. Cologuard screens for colon cancer, and Oncotype helps physicians determine whether cancer patients require chemotherapy.
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The OmicEra purchase comes after Exact Sciences partnered with Pennsylvania-based hospital Jefferson Health late last year — as part of a larger research effort to determine the safety and efficacy of the blood-based screening — to simulate the multi-cancer test in a real-world setting.
The medical institution serves more than 125,000 adults who are eligible to receive a diagnostic cancer screening.
Both Exact Sciences and Jefferson Health plan to subsequently participate in a Food and Drug Administration study that determines how well the blood-based test works. That’s expected to happen in the back half of 2022, with both parties slated to publish study results soon after.
The buy also comes after Exact Sciences announced in January it was adding a 266,000-square-foot research and development facility to its Madison campus, as well as expanding existing lab and warehouse space to accommodate the company’s rapid growth. The investment totals $350 million, and is expected to create 1,300 new jobs within Exact.
The biomedical giant also announced at the beginning of this year its acquisition of Marshfield-based genetics lab PreventionGenetics for $190 million. The move represented Exact’s entry into the hereditary cancer research market.
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