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Lonza Acquires HansaBioMed, Invests in Exosomics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Lonza announced today that it has acquired HansaBioMed Life Sciences, an Estonian exosome research tool developer, and made an investment in Exosomics, an Italian molecular diagnostics startup.

Financial and other terms of the agreements were not discussed.

The Swiss biopharmaceutical company said it undertook both deals to develop new therapeutic and diagnostic applications based around exosomes.

In a statement, Uwe Gottschalk, chief technology officer for the Basel-based company's pharma and biotech segment, said Lonza sees opportunities for using exosomes-based assays in cancer diagnostics, and offered that the cell-derived vesicles "could become the next generation of cell-free therapies in regenerative medicine."

Established in 2007, HansaBioMed is based in Tallinn, the Estonian capital, and offers a variety of products and services for exome research, including a next-generation sequencing service for identifying exosome-associated RNA and DNA biomarkers using Thermo Fisher Scientific's Ion Torrent and SOLiD instruments. The company also sells ExoTest, a double sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay for the quantitative and qualitative analysis of exosomes.

Exosomics, founded in 2011 and based in Siena, is a spinoff of HansaBioMed. The company is developing exosome-based cancer diagnostics and companion diagnostics, in particular by creating noninvasive assays for profiling tumors via liquid biopsies.

Anthony Chiesi serves as CEO of Exosomics and managing director of HansaBioMed. He said that bringing exosome technology into diagnostics and therapeutics required larger-scale procedures for isolating and characterizing exosomes, including cell-culture capabilities, areas where Lonza has expertise.

"Lonza’s infrastructure and leadership role in biomanufacturing, combined with our exosome knowledge, will accelerate the availability of these breakthrough modalities," Chiesi said in a statement.

As part of Lonza, HansaBioMed will expand its product portfolio and manufacturing processes, the company said. Exosomics will continue to develop noninvasive, exome-based liquid biopsy cancer-screening tests.