Precision Therapeutics Plans Oncology Expansion with Helomics Purchase

April 23, 2018
Precision Therapeutics Plans Oncology Expansion with Helomics Purchase
Precision Therapeutics plans to acquire all shares of Helomics, up from its current 25% stake, in a deal designed to catapult the buyer into leadership in precision oncology. [Source: Getty Images]

Precision Therapeutics said today it agreed to acquire all shares of Helomics, up from its current 25% stake, in a deal designed to catapult the buyer into leadership in precision oncology.

Minneapolis-based Precision Therapeutics has signed a letter of intent to buy the remaining Helomics shares it did not currently own, through a definitive merger agreement that is expected to be inked by May 15, and subject to confirmatory due diligence and closing conditions.

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Helomics specializes in precision diagnostics for oncology and integrated clinical CRO services that couple its patient-derived tumor models with a variety of multi-omics assays (genomics, proteomics and biochemical), and a proprietary bioinformatics platform (D-CHIP). The acquisition will give Precision Therapeutics access to Helomics’ full suite of Artificial Intelligence (AI), precision diagnostic and integrated CRO capabilities.

In addition to establishing a presence in precision oncology, Precision Therapeutics said, the deal will diversify its portfolio and generate near-term revenue for the buyer by bringing Helomics’ existing client base under the Precision Therapeutics umbrella; the company did not quantify that projected growth.

Precision Therapeutics set the stage for today’s deal in December, when—under its former name Skyline Medical—it announced plans to purchase an equity stake in Helomics that started at 20%, with rights to grow to 25%. Skyline medical completed the purchase in January and took its current name effective February 1, saying it better reflected its new strategic focus on applying AI to precision medicine and drug discovery.

Precision Therapeutics said it would integrate its TumorGenesis subsidiary with Helomics, allowing the combined entity to leverage Helomics’ complementary offering in precision oncology and benefit from operational synergies.

TumorGenesis will collaborate with Helomics to test its PDx for tumors in Helomics’ facility, Precision Therapeutics said. The TumorGenesis PDx collaboration  model will initially be developed for three cancers, Multiple Myeloma, Triple-Negative Breast cancer (TNBC) and Ovarian cancers—all of which have a high unmet need for new and effective treatments that are tailored to patients’ unique tumor profiles, the company reasons.

Helomics’ main focus is on gynecologic cancers, lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and pancreatic cancer, though its tests are available for all solid tumor types.

Helomics’ capabilities include a CLIA-licensed laboratory, a ‘big-data’ repository that contains the drug response profiles of over 149,000 patient tumors, and D-CHIP, a proprietary AI-powered bioinformatics engine designed to uncover actionable insights from the tumor data to aid cancer diagnosis and therapy, develop new diagnostics and therapies, perform better clinical trials and inform drug repurposing programs.

Synergies aside, Helomics’ management team will remain in their respective leadership positions at Helomics, and will manage Precision Therapeutics’ TumorGenesis operations, the buyer said.

The acquisition deal is subject to confirmatory due diligence and closing conditions that include, among others, approval of the transaction by the boards of directors and stockholders of Precision and Helomics.

“We look forward to advancing this transaction and playing a leading role in adoption of precision medicine in oncology,” Precision Therapeutics CEO Carl Schwartz, Ph.D., said in a statement. “We are very excited by this opportunity to further entrench ourselves in the precision oncology market, which is a rapidly evolving new clinical paradigm and has the potential to transform the way we diagnose and treat cancer patients. Helomics is at the forefront of this.”