Veracyte drops $600M to acquire cancer tester Decipher Biosciences

DNA helix forming inside a test tube
Veracyte's deal to acquire Decipher Biosciences includes $250 million in upfront cash plus up to $350 million in stock considerations and is expected to close by this May. (Getty Images)

Genomic cancer testing company Veracyte is moving to acquire Decipher Biosciences in a $600 million deal, with the goal of broadening its diagnostic reach to seven of the 10 most common tumor types affecting over 1 million new patients per year.

Decipher, once known as GenomeDx, maintains its own portfolio of tests focused on urologic cancers, including whole-transcriptome analysis and machine-learning-based algorithms.

Its prostate test is currently included in national cancer treatment guidelines, while its kidney and bladder cancer tests are currently under development, with the latter expected to launch commercially this year.

They’ll join Veracyte’s established genomic classifiers for lung, thyroid and breast cancers as well as tests for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, plus an upcoming diagnostic for lymphoma.

In addition, Veracyte hopes to wield Decipher’s Grid, a genomics research database profiling more than 85,000 urologic cancer samples, in its R&D partnerships with biopharma companies.

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Decipher, with its San Diego-based team and lab facilities, will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary; its president and CEO, Tina Nova, Ph.D.—who has also served on Veracyte’s board of directors since 2015—has since resigned her seat and is slated to become the new general manager of Veracyte’s planned urologic cancer business.

The deal includes $250 million in upfront cash plus up to $350 million in stock considerations and is expected to close by this May. 

The two companies hope to see their combined suite of genomic cancer tests access a near-term addressable market estimated at $12 billion. Decipher placed its testing volume for the year of 2020 at about 16,000, for a total preliminary revenue of nearly $40 million, the companies said.