Invitae leaps into prenatal screening with Good Start, CombiMatrix buys

Invitae Office
Invitae will add prenatal screening and other tests to its offerings, becoming a "provider of genetic information through every stage of life."

Invitae has inked a pair of deals to acquire Good Start Genetics, which specializes in carrier screening and counseling, and CombiMatrix, which markets tests for prenatal diagnosis and miscarriage analysis, among others.

Good Start and CombiMatrix’s tests will round out Invitae’s portfolio, which includes exome sequencing and genetic tests for conditions spanning cardiology, hematology, cancer and metabolic disorders. Invitae also markets test for newborn screening pediatric genetics. Invitae now bills itself as a company that provides genetic information through every stage of life.

“By acquiring Good Start and CombiMatrix, Invitae intends to create the industry’s first comprehensive genetic information platform providing high-quality, affordable genetic information coupled with world-class clinical expertise to inform healthcare decisions throughout every stage of an individual’s life,” said Invitae CEO Sean George, in a statement.

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Invitae will get its hands on Good Start’s GeneVu genetic carrier screening device, its VeriYou at-home carrier screening test and its EmbryVu pre-implantation screening test, that allows couples undergoing in vitro fertilization to work with care teams on selecting healthy embryos for implantation.

Last November, Good Start debuted the physician-ordered VeriYou test on Amazon, three weeks after its general product rollout. And in December, the company teamed up with Roche, which signed on to market Good Start’s GeneVu platform alongside its own Harmony noninvasive prenatal test.

As for CombiMatrix, the diagnostis maker also offers a pre-implantation test, as well as prenatal screenings, miscarriage analysis—which can help pinpoint if a mother is having multiple miscarriages due to a chromosomal abnormality—and pediatric genetic tests.

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“This combination of CombiMatrix, a recognized leader in genetic testing for Miscarriage Analysis, with one of the fastest growing genetic information companies in Invitae provides a tremendous opportunity to accelerate the growth of both companies,” said CombiMatrix CEO Mark McDonough, in the statement. “The information that we will be able to provide as a combined entity will enable clinicians to help guide women through some of the most important health decisions they make along the continuum of care in family planning.”

Invitae will acquire Good Start by ponying up about 1.65 million shares of its common stock, $1.83 million to strike Good Start’s outstanding debt and another $6 million for preclosing- and closing-related costs. Invitae could acquire CombiMatrix either through a warrant exchange, where it will offer up to $6 million worth of its shares in exchange for CombiMatrix’s outstanding Seris F warrants. But if less than 90% of CombiMatrix warrantholders participate in the exchange, Invitae would offer up to $15 million in shares.

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