Qiagen takes stake in Alacris

Gains access to biomarker pipeline for use in personalised healthcare assays

Netherlands-based Qiagen is taking a minority stake in Alacris Theranostics, a German start-up developing cancer treatments based on a patient’s genomic profile and an exclusive option to access all biomarkers that are discovered.

Alacris, founded by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin and Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, US, uses a modelling system known as ModCell to analyse clinical sample data based on next-generation genome sequencing technologies.

Alacris says the system allows users to identify and select biomarkers that could prove useful in treatment decisionmaking and generate marker subsets for stratifying potential patient populations for r&d trials.

Qiagen’s access to these marker selections will allow it to format biomarkers into realtime PCR-based assays for commercialising either in its pharmaceutical development assay portfolio, or for the therascreen molecular diagnostics portfolio used with the new QIAsymphony RGQ platform.

‘The genome-driven approach of Alacris complements our strategy very well since it facilitates a clinically relevant selection of molecular targets from vast amounts of genetic and clinical data. Qiagen intends to develop such molecular targets into assays for our QIAsymphony platform to personalise treatments and improve outcomes for patients,’ said Peer Schatz, chief executive of Qiagen.

‘Qiagen has rich experience and know-how in the commercialisation of innovative life science and diagnostic technologies, which will help us to commercialise this novel approach to treating diseases such as cancer in the future,’ added Hans Lehrach, one of the founders of Alacris Theranostics and a director at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics.

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