Gene By Gene grabs GE-backed diagnostics startup

Gene By Gene has bought Arpeggi, a DNA sequencing outfit whose data management technology will help the growing company spread the reach of its diagnostic products.

Neither firm is disclosing financial details, but, through the deal, Gene By Gene gets Arpeggi's Genome Comparison and Analytic Testing offering, a platform designed to evaluate the performance of next-gen sequencing analysis methods. The Austin-based company also markets proprietary sequencing tools it says are designed to churn out accurate results while keeping costs low.

Arpeggi, which launched last year, was among 14 startups selected to join the StartUp Health and GE Entrepreneurship Program this year, and the company's technology folds perfectly into Gene By Gene's mission of advancing low-cost gene analysis, Managing Partner Max Blankfeld said.

"The acquisition of Arpeggi's technology and world­-class team of data and technology experts will enable us to accelerate Gene by Gene's plan to make next­-generation DNA sequencing and clinical genomics accessible and affordable to all," Blankfeld said in a statement. "We are on a mission to transform healthcare by dramatically speeding up the process, and reducing the costs, of genetic tests, which today are often far too expensive for the average consumer."

That mission, however noble, has gotten Gene By Gene into some legal trouble of late. Hours after the Supreme Court nullified some of Myriad Genetics' ($MYGN) patents on certain gene mutations, Gene By Gene announced it would start offering BRCA analysis for $995, saying "exorbitant licensing fees" previously kept it from selling the tests in the U.S.

Last month, Myriad filed a lawsuit against the Houston company, saying it violated 9 process-related patent claims when it started launched BRCA1 and BRCA2 analysis tests, and the company has since declined to comment on the suit.

Looking forward, now that the buyout is done, Arpeggi's Nir Leibovich will serve as Gene By Gene's chief business officer, and co-founder Jason Wang will be its chief technology officer. The two launched Arpeggi in 2012 after leaving mobile game giant Zynga for the world of genomics.

- read the announcement