NeoGeomics Splashes $390M to Buy Liquid Biopsy Developer Inivata

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The Blood Profiling Atlas in Cancer Consortium (BloodPAC) has publicly released an initial dataset intended to help accelerate the development of liquid biopsy technology. [© Alex Tihonov/Fotolia]
The Blood Profiling Atlas in Cancer Consortium (BloodPAC) has publicly released an initial dataset intended to help accelerate the development of liquid biopsy technology. [© Alex Tihonov/Fotolia]

Cancer testing and information services company NeoGenomics, which serves both the clinical and pharmaceutical sectors, announced on Wednesday it would acquire U.K-based liquid biopsy company Inivata. The deal follows NeoGenomics taking a minority ownership position in the company last May at which time it invested $25 million and was granted the option to buy Inivata for $390 million if exercised before the end of 2021.

For Neogenomics, this latest planned acquisition continues the company’s pointed push to fill out its service offerings in order to better serve its core markets. In March, the company acquired precision health IT company Intervention Insights, which conducted business as Trapelo Health, for $35 million in cash and $30 million NeoGenomics stock.

Inivata’s core PCR multiplexing technology is its InVision First Lung test for non-small cell lung cancer and its newest launch RaDar, a multi-tumor assay for the detection of residual disease and recurrence based on the InVision liquid biopsy platform.

“NeoGenomics has spent the better part of the last year working in partnership with the exceptional team of professionals at Inivata while conducting confirmatory due diligence on the business and its world-leading liquid biopsy platform technology,” said Mark Mallon, CEO of NeoGenomics in a press release. “We are exercising our option to purchase Inivata eight months ahead of plan at what we believe is an attractive value in today’s M&A marketplace for liquid biopsy companies.”

According to Douglas VanOort, executive chairman of the board at NeoGenomics, the addition of Inivata’s tests helps fill out its cancer testing menu and give it a solid position for growth in the liquid biopsy and residual disease and cancer recurrence market.

“The addition of Inivata’s leading liquid biopsy technology for detecting circulating tumor DNA will allow NeoGenomics to provide testing solutions to our physicians and their patients for diagnosis, prognosis, therapy selection and now also for post intervention detection of residual disease and for recurrence monitoring,” VanOort said in company conference call announcing the acquisition and its first quarter operating results.

In Inivata, the management team at NeoGenomics believes they have a leading technology that will allow it to be a significant player in the $15 billion addressable market for liquid biopsy and disease recurrence monitoring.

“I took a seat on their board as part of the strategic relationship to commercialize InVision First,” VanOort told Clinical OMICs. As he became more familiar with Inivata, both he and the company were impressed by the RaDar test. “The sensitivity of this test, we believe—and all the KOLs and experts we consulted believe—is probably the best out there.”

But the technology has applications beyond the clinical market and will likely become a key offering within the company’s pharma services division as well. As Mallon noted in an interview, as oncology therapeutics increasingly target ever smaller populations with precision therapies, the sensitivity of RaDar can ensure that clinical trials can target only the appropriate patients based on their molecular profile and could potentially transform how pivotal studies are conducted.

“The challenge today is you have to enroll a huge number of patients because many if the people that have had the surgeries, maybe as many as 70% to 80% of them don’t have cancer,” Mallon said. “Today, when pharma companies do those studies, those patients are all enrolled in studies and the result is you have to do very large studies, hundreds and hundreds of patients, over a long period of time to show an improvement of your new therapy over the existing standard. With RaDar, we can effectively eliminate all those patients who are cured and only do the studies on patients who have cancer.”

InVision Lung is a 37-gene liquid biopsy test that employs next-generation sequencing for analysis. Through their existing relationship, NeoGenomics has been helping to commercialize the test in the U.S. market. In 2019, the test received a local coverage determination for Medicare reimbursement from Palmetto GBA, and is currently reimbursed at $3,500 per test.

In addition to its home base in the U.K., Inivata also has a CAP/CLIA accredited lab in Research Triangle Park, NC. The RaDar test, which measures 48 known genetic variants of cancer was validated in this facility in December. Inivata has published data detailing the high sensitivity of the test and it seems poised, with NeoGenomics as a marketing engine, for broad adoption.

“While the published clinical data and high levels of sensitivity for RaDaR are compelling, perhaps the most exciting aspect about RaDaR and MRD testing in general is the paradigm shifting impact it can have for patients along their cancer journey,” noted Clive Morris, Inivata CEO, in the conference call. “In the adjuvant post-surgery setting, RaDaR can potentially be used to help select patients for adjuvant therapy based on the presence of residual circulating tumor DNA in the blood, indicating that the patient has not been cured by their surgery. In the future, the test may also be able to help optimize the dosing or duration of therapy. RaDaR testing can also be used to monitor for disease recurrence for cancer patients that are in remission.”

Closing of the deal is expected in June, and Morris will stay on with the company as president of Inivata after the sale is completed.

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