NEW YORK – Genomics-based testing firm Prenetics said Monday that it signed a collaboration deal with Chinese University of Hong Kong researcher Dennis Lo to form a $200 million joint venture, Insighta, to develop multi-cancer screening tests.
Hong Kong-based Prenetics and Lo each will have a 50 percent equity stake in the company and elect three of the six members of the new firm's board of directors. Lo is generally credited as the inventor of noninvasive prenatal testing, while he has also done research into liquid biopsy. Insighta will develop its Prenetics screening test using the epigenetics-based Fragma technology that Lo developed for the detection of fragmentation patterns in plasma DNA.
Insighta plans to start a 5,000-patient multicountry clinical trial in early 2024 of its test called Presight with an initial focus on liver and lung cancer detection. Prenetics said it expects its first tests will become available in Hong Kong and mainland China in 2025, and the joint venture plans to launch sales of its Presight One test for the detection of 10-plus types of cancer in 2027.
Prenetics CEO Danny Yeung will be the CEO of Insighta while Lo will be its chairman.
Prenetics will contribute US$100 million to the joint venture, with US$80 million in cash and US$20 million in Prenetics stock.
"The potential of our Presight test is immense, potentially influencing the health of 1 billion individuals in Asia," Yeung said in a statement. "Our primary focus for the initial launch will be in mainland China, Hong Kong and other parts of Asia."
Lo added, "We are driven by the profound potential to save countless lives, and together, we will make a significant stride towards a healthier future for all."