JPM24: Veracyte inks $95M deal to buy fellow cancer testing company C2i Genomics

With an eye toward expanding the reach of its cancer diagnostics portfolio, Veracyte has made moves to pick up C2i Genomics, maker of tests to detect the minimal residual disease, or MRD, left behind after cancer treatments.

Under the terms of the proposed acquisition, which Veracyte announced Monday during the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, the San Francisco-based company will offer $70 million of its own shares in upfront payment for C2i. From there, another $25 million will remain on the table, to be paid out as C2i hits certain “performance milestones” throughout the first two years after the deal closes. Veracyte will choose whether to dish out those milestone payments in Veracyte shares or in cash.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.

C2i’s whole-genome MRD tests use artificial intelligence to analyze just a few milliliters of blood, looking for any remaining cancer cells leftover after a tumor has been removed.

Veracyte, meanwhile, has developed a diagnostics platform that also relies on AI and genomic sequencing. Its wide range of tests—spanning a variety of cancer types—are aimed at helping doctors better spot signs of disease, determine a prognosis and select a treatment plan personalized to each patient’s needs.

Adding the C2i portfolio into the mix will allow Veracyte to serve doctors and cancer patients across a broader swath of the “cancer care continuum,” Veracyte CEO Marc Stapley said in the announcement.

“MRD detection and monitoring is a large, rapidly growing space that provides critical information to physicians and their patients,” he said. “We believe that C2i Genomics’ whole-genome technology will enable earlier detection of MRD and recurrence than imaging and other molecular tests, resulting in better patient outcomes, with faster results and smaller sample requirements. This will further fuel our vision to transform cancer care for patients all over the world.”

The first product of the acquisition will be an MRD test aimed at spotting remnants of muscle-invasive bladder cancer, the rollout of which will be backed by Veracyte’s existing commercial channel in the urology space and by what the company predicted will be “a clear pathway to expected reimbursement.” From there, Veracyte will continue to develop new MRD tests in several other of its focus areas, which include thyroid, prostate, lung and breast cancers.

Alongside the acquisition news, Veracyte shared preliminary tallies of its full-year 2023 results, including expected year-over-year revenue growth of 21%, to land somewhere between $358 million and $359 million. Its test volume, meanwhile, grew by about 24%, reaching approximately 127,000 for the year.

Stapley attributed the significant growth primarily to the company’s Afirma and Decipher businesses. The former is a genomic sequencing classifier used to help assess thyroid nodules, while the latter tests are aimed at prostate and bladder cancers and were acquired in Veracyte’s buyout of Decipher Biosciences for $600 million in 2021.