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LineaRx Acquires Cancer Cell Analysis Firm Vitatex

NEW YORK — LineaRx said today that it has acquired the assets and intellectual property of Vitatex, a developer of invasive circulating tumor cell (iCTC) analysis technologies.

According to LineaRx — an Applied DNA Sciences subsidiary formed around technologies for DNA design, manufacture, and chemical modification by large-scale PCR — Vitatex's technologies allows iCTCs to be isolated from standard blood samples. These cells can then be cultured and challenged against panels of cancer therapies to help personalize treatments, such as CAR T immunotherapies, for specific patients.

Following the acquisition, LineaRx said that it will work with other companies to enhance their cancer assays, generate personalized redirected cell therapies against cancers with high mutation burdens and metastatic potential, out-license Vitatex's technologies for use in early cancer diagnostics and prognostics, and design synthetic genes to redirect immune cells against antigens that are recognized by leukocytes that comigrate with iCTCs. It also aims to develop therapeutics that use its proprietary DNA manufacturing methods.

"We believe LineaRx has the commercial and compliance experience to bring our technologies quickly to commercial practice to aid the cancer community," Vitatex Founder and President Wen-Tien Chen said in a statement.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Vitatex will receive an initial payment of $300,000 worth of LineaRx equity at a $25 million valuation. Stony Brook, New York-based LineaRx will make additional milestone payments up to $1 million in the form of $800,000 in stock and $200,000 in cash. LineaRx noted that it has also signed a licensing agreement with The Research Foundation for The State University of New York, as Vitatex's IP is based on work performed by Chen in his role as a professor at Stony Brook University.

Vitatex Director of Medical Research Qiang Zhao and its Director of Product Research Huan Dong have both assumed undisclosed positions at LineaRx. Chen will join LineaRx as a consulting emeritus scientist and principal investigator. Additional terms were not disclosed.