Patient Square Capital aims to roll up NanoString assets with $220M bid

After it filed for bankruptcy early last month, the life science tool developer NanoString may have found a new home for its portfolio with the investment firm Patient Square Capital. 

Patient Square has inked a $220 million stalking-horse agreement that would see it take over “substantially all assets,” pending approval by the bankruptcy court overseeing the sales process. NanoString is the maker of spatial, multi-omic sequencers for analyzing tissue, cells, protein activity and gene expression.

“This agreement with Patient Square provides continuity for our scientific customers and employees, and represents an important step in our financial restructuring,” NanoString’s president and CEO, Brad Gray, said in a statement. “We believe that Patient Square is committed to continuing NanoString’s mission to Map the Universe of Biology and is prepared to invest in our market-leading product roadmap.”

NanoString entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy after losing a patent infringement lawsuit late last year that came with an order to pay $31 million in damages to 10x Genomics—which, alongside Prognosys Biosciences, had claimed that NanoString’s GeoMx Digital Spatial Profiler ran afoul of seven of their patents and exclusive licenses for methods to map out the inner workings of tissues and cells.

“The unexpected outcome of the November GeoMx patent litigation trial in Delaware and the unusually large magnitude of the damages awarded by the jury have forced us to take proactive steps to protect our stakeholders, customers and employees,” Gray said in the company’s February 4 announcement.

According to NanoString, a court hearing to approve Patient Square’s offer and subsequent bidding process is tentatively scheduled for March 28; the Seattle-based company has requested that a deadline for any competing offers be set for April 12, with final approval coming April 22.

Meanwhile, in late February, NanoString reported that the appeals branch of the European Unified Patent Court overturned a previous preliminary injunction following 10x’s claims, which had been issued by a local German oversight division. 

The injunction had impacted the sales of NanoString’s CosMx Spatial Molecular Imager products across the European Union; the latest decision allows the company to immediately resume sales of CosMx products in 16 member countries.

Elsewhere, NanoString has countersued 10x in an antitrust case that includes Harvard University, claiming that because the underlying technology was developed using public grant money from the National Institutes of Health, it should not be limited to exclusive licensing deals.