Life brings new biomarker tech to Merck Serono companion Dx deal

Life Technologies ($LIFE) brings newly acquired biomarker expertise to its companion diagnostics collaboration deal with Merck Serono, putting into play technology it snatched up last October.

Neither side is disclosing financial details for the deal, which will focus initially on a companion diagnostic for cancer. Other therapeutic targets will follow in the coming months.

Merck Serono, a division of Germany's Merck KGaA, comes into the collaboration with a number of biomarkers for potential drug targets identified in its ongoing translational research.

Life is a more equal partner than it would have been before it snatched up Compendia Bioscience last fall for an undisclosed sum, acquiring that company's cancer biomarker diagnostics and bioinformatics technology. Ronnie Andrews, Life's president of genetic and medical sciences, said Life is capable now of focusing on biomarker hypothesis and assay development concurrent with a drug's own development process. Life will use its bioinformatics software to help spot key genetic mutations involved in diseases that will work with potential new Merck drugs.

Life's latest deal comes as the company waits for Thermo Fisher ($TMO) to close its purchase of the company in a $13.6 billion bid. Thermo Fisher plans to keep Life's leadership at the combined entity, but has continued a strategy of expanding its molecular diagnostics expertise.

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