NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Molecular diagnostic and sample prep systems developer Akonni Biosystems announced today it has inked an exclusive two-way licensing deal with Righton, a Chinese in vitro diagnostics company, for distribution of Akonni's products in China and to offer Righton's molecular diagnostics globally.
Under the agreement Righton will promote sale of Akonni's sample preparation technology, TruTip, as well as its multiplexed diagnostics solution, TruDiagnosis, to researchers, clinical labs, and hospitals in China. Righton will also support the China launch of Akonni's tuberculosis diagnostic product lines.
"The attributes and flexibility of Akonni's platform, combined with its low cost, should allow us to break into a very large segment of the China market," Xiong Hui, founder and CEO of Righton, said in a statement.
Akonni noted in a statement that Righton has made an equity investment in the firm's series D fundraising of $7.5 million, bringing the total investments in the round to $13.9 million.
The agreement further grants Akonni exclusive rights to Righton's molecular diagnostic product portfolio outside of China. Righton has 28 diagnostic tests approved by the Chinese Food and Drug Administration, as well as "a well-established customer base, distribution, and manufacturing infrastructure" with 2017 annual revenues exceeding 180 million RMB (about $28.4 million), Akonni said in a statement. The Righton tests use qPCR, next-generation sequencing, and digital PCR for oncology and infectious disease applications and the company has a customer base of 400 hospitals in 29 Chinese provinces.
The partners plan to initiate joint development projects in the future for applications such as liquid biopsy testing in oncology, non-invasive prenatal testing, companion diagnostics, and multiplexed panel testing for infectious diseases.
Last year Akonni raised $4 million in bridge financing to prepare for US Food and Drug Administration submission of a clinical pharmacogenomic test for its TruDx 2000 microarray platform, to list its automated sample prep instrument with the FDA as a Class I device, and to advance development of the TruDx 3000 fully integrated sample-to-answer system.
"The investment from Righton provides us the financing we need to further our commercial goals outside of China, including the submission of our first US FDA application for our TruDx 2000 platform," Akonni CEO Charles Daitch said in a statement. "In addition, the partnership will lead to significant commercial revenues from China for both Akonni and Righton in the near-term," Daitch added.