Private Investors Join Management Group to Acquire Genoptix from Novartis

January 30, 2017

Two private investors, Ampersand Capital Partners and 1315 Capital, said today they will partner with a management group to acquire the commercial lab business of Genoptix from Novartis for an undisclosed amount.

Genoptix is a Novartis subsidiary that specializes in oncology diagnostics and informatics services. Headquartered in Carlsbad, CA, Genoptix is one of the largest hematopathology centers in the U.S., providing oncologists and pathologists with comprehensive testing solutions in hematology and solid tumor molecular profiling.

Genoptix’s flagship service is COMPASS, designed as a comprehensive diagnostic approach for hematomalignancies that integrates morphology, flow cytometry, cytogenetics, FISH, and molecular testing as medically appropriate. The company has expanded its menu of tests in recent years to include next generation sequencing (NGS) panels based on clinically validated markers.

Founded in 1999, Genoptix was acquired by Novartis in 2011 for $470 million, in a deal designed to strengthen the pharma giant’s molecular diagnostics unit. Novartis will keep Genoptix’s biopharma business at its current location through a new entity within the Novartis Group called Navigate BioPharma Services. The biopharma business serves the pharmaceutical industry, and performs other specialized research and development services designed to further patient care in oncology.

Ampersand and 1315 Capital have joined a management group led by Joseph M. Limber, previously the CEO of Prometheus Laboratories, in agreeing to acquire Genoptix from Novartis. Limber led Prometheus to become a top commercial U.S. specialty diagnostic and therapeutic company in gastroenterology and oncology, with its own oncology diagnostic platform, until the company was acquired by Nestlé Health Science in 2011 for an undisclosed amount.

Limber will become CEO of Genoptix upon completion of the deal, set to occur in the first quarter subject to closing conditions. Mark Spring, who served as CFO of Prometheus Laboratories, will hold a similar position with Genoptix.

Genoptix said it will maintain its current location following the acquisition, which it added will have no impact on its day-to-day operations with its customers.

According to their websites, 1315 Capital targets $10 million to $25 million investments in commercial-stage medical technology, healthcare service, and specialty pharmaceutical businesses capable of scaling up to approximately $100 million in revenue, while Ampersand investments typically range from $10 million to $30 million of equity.

Ampersand, a private equity firm focused on growth equity investments in healthcare, has managed more than $1 billion in private equity partnerships over the past two decades. The firm focuses its investments on companies with $10 million to $100 million of revenue, and positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) that provide products/services within laboratory testing services and laboratory products, as well as contract manufacturing, pharma services, and specialty pharma.

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