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Genedrive Agrees to Sell Research, Pharmacogenomics Divisions for £1.9M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – UK-based Genedrive announced today that it has signed a conditional agreement with a firm called Epistem 2 to sell its contract research and pharmacogenomics divisions for a cash consideration of up to £1.9 million ($2.6 million), as part of a strategy to focus entirely on the molecular diagnostics market.

The sale has been contemplated since March 2016, when Genedrive — formerly known as Epistem — informed shareholders of its intention to undertake a review of the strategic options for its pharmacogenomics, contract research services, and novel therapies operations, as part of its six-month earnings results announcement. Genedrive said the strategy will allow it to focus resources on areas that can deliver superior returns for shareholders.

Venture capital trust manager Foresight Group is funding Epistem 2's purchase of the two Genedrive divisions. Of the £1.9 million purchase price, approximately £1.2 million will be paid in cash upon completion of the sale, and the balance is payable subject to Epistem 2 making successful claims for certain tax credits in the 36 months following completion of the deal. Genedrive director Catherine Booth is also a director and material shareholder in Epistem 2. At the completion of the sale, Booth will resign as a director of Genedrive.

Genedrive recently completed validation studies for its point-of-care molecular diagnostics platform and assay for hepatitis C virus (HCV). The firm's hand-held portable device demonstrated improved sensitivity and specificity across all major HCV genotypes, and has an end-user price of around $4,000.

Genedrive will convene a general meeting in June to approve a resolution authorizing the disposal.

Genedrive CEO David Budd said in a statement that the removal of the service business is in line with the firm's focus on the patient molecular diagnostic market.

"We believe Genedrive can play an important role in the diagnosis and management of HCV in territories where access to centralized laboratories is limited," Budd added. "We also plan to re-enter the large [tuberculosis] market and expect to capitalize on other opportunities in markets where Genedrive's speed, cost and accessibility provide tangible benefits to end users."