Aims to become a global leader in genomic medicine
WuXi PharmaTech has bought NextCODE Health, a leading genomic analysis and bioinformatics company with operations in the US and Iceland, for US$65m in cash.
WuXi will merge NextCODE Health and its Genome Centre into a new company to be called WuXi NextCODE Genomics. The business will be headquartered in Shanghai, China, with operations in Cambridge, MA, US and Reykjavik, Iceland.
NextCODE Health was spun out from deCODE genetics after the latter was acquired by Amgen in December 2012. Founded in 1996, deCODE genetics analyses the links between the genome and disease susceptibility. Using its expertise and population resources in Iceland, deCODE genetics has discovered genetic risk factors for dozens of diseases ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer. In October 2013, NextCODE Health obtained from Amgen a five-year exclusive licence for sequence-based clinical diagnostic applications using technology developed by deCODE genetics.
NextCODE Health has developed a genome sequence analysis platform with an efficient database architecture, enabling clinicians and researchers to use the next-generation sequencing data to diagnose and treat diseases better.
The WuXi Genome Centre was established in 2011 to provide next-generation sequencing solutions to academics, the life science industry, and medical institutions to advance personalised medicine. By integrating with WuXi AppTec's range of discovery and development services for the biopharmaceutical industry, the WuXi Genome Centre provides a complete solution for drug development projects from target discovery and preclinical and clinical development to personalised medicine.
WuXi says this acquisition lays the groundwork for the creation of an integrated global enterprise for applying genomics to medicine. It broadens and enhances WuXi's existing genomic laboratory services for biopharmaceutical research and clinical development, as well as NextCODE's capabilities in genome analysis.
'With the huge unmet medical needs in diseases with a genetic component and the rapid advances in genomics and bioinformatics, now is the right time for WuXi to make a strategic investment in this field, and NextCODE is the right partner,' said Ge Li, Chairman and CEO of WuXi PharmaTech, who will also lead WuXi NextCODE Genomics as CEO.
'This new venture of WuXi NextCODE Genomics will create important new genomic and bioinformatic products and services to help make personalised treatment and medicine a reality. It will also enable doctors to provide better treatments to patients.'
Hannes Smarason and Jeffrey Gulcher, co-founders of NextCODE Health, added: 'In WuXi, we have a superior partner with strengths, including CLIA-certified sequencing and leading global pharmaceutical customers with a strong need for companion diagnostics, that are highly complementary to those of NextCODE. Together, WuXi and NextCODE have the technology, vision, and resources to be a leader in the sequencing revolution for the benefit of patients and for the advancement of medicine around the world.'