Invitae to Expand NIPS Services with Singular Bio Acquisition

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Newborn baby and his father's hand - care and safety concept

Invitae said today it has agreed to acquire Singular Bio for $55 million, in a deal designed to bolster the buyer’s non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS) presence with Singular’s single molecule detection technology.

Singular has developed a single molecule detection technology it says has achieved high sensitivity by combining advanced optics with custom chemistry and molecular biology. The technology is designed to enable expanded use of cell-free, nucleic acid analysis at lower cost, according to Singular Bio, in applications that Invitae envisions as stretching beyond NIPS.

“The addition of Singular Bio’s technology will further strengthen our ability to bring genetic information into mainstream medical care,”Invitae co-founder and CEO Sean George, PhD, said in a statement. “Singular Bio is building an approach to non-invasive prenatal screening with the potential to achieve the cost savings necessary to provide more women with genetic information to support a healthy pregnancy. We believe this approach could eventually be applied to other areas of genetic testing.”

NIPS is conducted in early pregnancy to detect chromosomal abnormalities and assess the health of the fetus via a simple blood test. Invitae introduced its NIPS services in February, and more recently announced reduced $99 pricing for patients, saying it intended to increase the number of women who benefit from the use of NIPS testing in early pregnancy.

“We are excited that Invitae shares our drive to provide advanced molecular tests at affordable prices, thereby improving care for all patients,” Singular Bio CEO Hywel B. Jones, PhD, said in a statement. “By joining together with Invitae, we believe our technology can help make routine non-invasive prenatal screening widely available.”

Both companies are based in San Francisco. Singular Bio is privately-held, while Invitae is publicly-traded.

Invitae finished 2018 having more than doubled its annual testing volume and revenue. The company reported a 102% year-over-year increase in testing volume, accessioning approximately 303,000 samples, more than 18,000 above its guidance to investors. Invitae also finished 2018 with a 117% annual revenue growth, to $147.7 million, above its guidance of between $140 million to $145 million.

Invitae said its growth reflected in part a series of acquisitions. In June 2017, Invitae expanded its genome management support offerings for clinicians by acquiring Ommdom, the developer of the CancerGene Connect risk assessment and family history analysis platform. Invitae acquired all of Ommdom’s outstanding capital stock in exchange for approximately $6 million in Invitae common shares.

Two months later, Invitae announced its acquisitions of two diagnostics developers, CombiMatrix and Good Start Genetics, for a combined $72 million in cash and stock.

Invitae said it will pay for most of its acquisition of Singular Bio in stock, with the balance in cash, taking into account Singular Bio’s estimated cash balance of approximately $5 million at closing.

Invitae also plans to grant stock awards for up to $90 million to employees of Singular Bio who will continue post-acquisition with Invitae. The stock awards will vest based in part on their continued service and the achievement of milestones.

The acquisition is expected to close in the coming weeks, subject to customary closing conditions. Invitae said it expects the deal will neither add to or subtract from its revenues at close, and has already factored in the additional operating expense of the acquisition in past statements about expected 2019 cash burn.


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