Nuclea snatches up Wilex AG Dx subsidiary

Massachusetts diagnostics outfit Nuclea Biotechnologies is snatching up the U.S. subsidiary of Germany's Wilex AG, a biopharma focused on developing diagnostic and drug candidates for cancer. Buyer and seller will also forge a tighter development alliance as part of the deal.

Patrick Muraca, Nuclea's president and CEO, said in a statement that the acquisition represents "a major step" forward for his company, which is based in Pittsfield but has additional operations in Worcester. Nuclea is known for identifying biomarkers and developing proprietary diagnostic tests under the brand "Decision Dx" that help predict the best possible treatments for specific patients depending on their genetic makeup.

"This acquisition presented us with an opportunity to strengthen Nuclea's portfolio and continue to move into the commercial realm," Muraca said. "I'm confident that these additions will expand our footprint in the field of personalized medicine."

Nuclea will take on all the assets of Wilex AG's Cambridge, MA, subsidiary, Wilex Inc., an 11-employee operation that develops and manufactures oncology biomarker tests under the brand name Oncogene Science. The terms also call for Nuclea to take on repayment and responsibility for a $2.5 million loan between Wilex Inc. and Wilex AG, and Nuclea becomes eligible for single-digit royalties on net sales of two signature Wilex Inc. assays. One, a HER-2/neu assay, is used to monitor and manage patients with metastatic breast cancer. The other--the company's CAIX assays--are used to identify a biomarker found in different cancer types.

Separately, Wilex AG, which is based in Munich, Germany, inked a deal with Nuclea in which Nuclea will develop an automated CAIX in vitro diagnostic immunohistochemistry test designed for use as a possible companion diagnostic with Wilex's Rencarex to help treat clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Nuclea said it will handle development costs for the diagnostics as a contribution in kind, the companies said, helping Wilex AG save about $2.5 million.

"This transaction delivers not only a partner to development and commercialize the CAIX Dx but also further cost savings, and allows Wilex to focus on its late stage drug pipeline and ADC technology platform," Wilex AG (and Wilex Inc.) CEO Olaf Wilhelm said in a statement.

- here's the press release

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