Having marked its target, Neogenomics swoops

The purchase of Inivata for $390m today might not be the biggest liquid biopsy company acquisition of the past year, but it does tread the path mapped out by Grail and Thrive Earlier Detection with their much larger deals. Like those groups, Inivata was bought by an investor – in its case, Neogenomics. Neogenomics took an equity stake and an option to buy the UK group a year ago for $25m. At the same time Neogenomics agreed to sell Inivata’s InVisionFirst-Lung liquid biopsy, which assesses 37 genes relevant to non-small cell lung cancer, in the US. Inivata is destined to become a liquid biopsy-focused division of Neogenomics, working on products including its own RaDaR test, designed to detect minimal residual disease and recurrence. Neogenomics was already a liquid biopsy player by virtue of its pan-cancer NeoLAB assay, which can detect variants in 44 genes involved in solid tumour progression. This was launched in the US along with InVisionFirst-Lung last summer as a lab-developed test. Neogenomics plans to fund the acquisition with cash on hand and a private placement of 4.4 million shares, which Leerink analysts expect to raise around $200m.

From VC to M&A: liquid biopsy deals
Target Investment details Acquistion details
Inivata Neogenomics invested $25m in May 2020 alongside a strategic collaboration Neogenomics bought remainder of Inivata for $390m in May 2021
Thrive Earlier Detection Exact participated in Thrive's $110m series A round in May 2019 Exact bought Thrive for $1.7bn in Jan 2021
Grail Grail spun out of Illumina in 2016; Illumina participated in Grail's series A and D rounds  Illumina bought Grail for $8bn in Sep 2020; deal under antitrust investigation
And potential future purchases? 
Freenome Roche participated in Freenome's series B and C rounds; Google's venture arm GV participated in series A, B and C rounds None
Delfi Diagnostics Illumina participated in Delfi's seed and $100m series A round, the latter in Jan 2021 None 
Source: Evaluate Medtech.

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