bioMérieux and Knome Sign Strategic Partnership

Marcy l’Etoile (France) and Cambridge, Massachusetts (US) – 21 April 2010 – Exclusive agreement to bring state-of-the-art genome sequencing technology to the in vitro diagnostics market. bioMérieux takes equity stake in Knome.

bioMérieux and Knome announced today that they have entered into a strategic agreement to collaborate in the development of next-generation, sequence-based in vitro diagnostics. Under the agreement, bioMérieux will have exclusive rights to license Knome’s proprietary genome analysis platform for use in the in vitro diagnostics market. Furthermore, Knome will gain access to bioMérieux’s intellectual property in DNA extraction and sample preparation. bioMérieux has also purchased a $5 million equity stake in Knome.

Founded by Harvard geneticist George Church and led by internationally recognised scientists, clinicians and bioinformaticians, Knome provides cutting-edge genome sequencing and analysis services for biomedical researchers and families seeking to understand the genetic underpinnings of human disease.

“Genome sequencing and analysis is driving a revolution in the diagnosis and treatment of human disease,” said Jorge Conde, chief executive officer of Knome. “We are excited to partner with bioMérieux to bring ground-breaking sequencing-based solutions to the in vitro diagnostics market, helping to ensure that doctors and their patients benefit from these emerging technologies.”

“We are living at a time of extraordinary technological innovation in genetics. Medicine 2.0 is literally being written before our eyes,” said Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of bioMérieux. “We are very excited to be working with Knome — their expertise in human genome analytics combined with our unique knowledge of in vitro diagnostics will allow us to create the diagnostic tools of tomorrow.”

Multiplex DNA sequencing for molecular diagnostics development is part of bioMérieux’s 2015 strategic road map. bioMérieux intends to develop next-generation cancer and infectious disease diagnostics using Knome’s proprietary sequence analysis technology and bioinformatic tools. The bioMérieux team will be led by bioMérieux’s recently appointed chief technology officer, Alain Pluquet.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. In connection with the purchase, bioMérieux has the right to designate one director for election to the Knome board. This seat will initially be held by Stéphane Bancel.

About genomic sequencing

Since the completion of the Human Genome Project, this last decade has witnessed a virtual explosion of new research linking DNA to human health and disease. Rapid sequence analysis offers a comprehensive view of the entire genome sequence or specific genes of interest by providing immediate access to the complex interplay between individual mutations. Making sense of such data requires efficient processing of output from a rapidly evolving array of sequencing platforms; careful curation of reference data; and rigorous methods of comparative sequence analysis.

As DNA sequencing costs drop, and a tide of useful data rises, the thorough analysis of individual human and pathogen genomes will likely become a standard part of regular clinical care. Many important questions in medicine can be addressed by using individual genome sequence data to find, and understand, key genetic differences that explain why one person (or one tissue) gets sick, and another remains healthy.

In oncology, tracking genetic differences that distinguish tumours from other tissues can help drive treatment strategies, and monitor their effectiveness. And in infectious disease, high-throughput genome sequence analysis can help rapidly identify microbes responsible for infections, and reveal underlying mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance. Genomic sequencing can also be used in the development of theranostics for personalised medicine.

About Knome

Human genomics for disease investigation

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Knome is a leading human genomics company focused on providing secure, state-of-the-art sequencing and analysis solutions for biomedical researchers and motivated families that seek to understand the genetic underpinnings of disease. Led by internationally recognised geneticists, clinicians and bioinformaticians, Knome has been responsible for sequencing and interpreting more genomes than any other company in the world. Knome is a privately-held company. For more information, please visit Knome’s website.

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