Molecular Profiling Institute (MPI), the first spinoff of Phoenix’s International Genomics Consortium and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), has been acquired for approximately $40 million by a Texas biotech firm, signaling the potential for Arizona’s investment in the biosciences to yield significant returns.
“This acquisition of MPI demonstrates our commitment to deliver health improvement by advancing the commercialization of personalized medicine,” said David D. Halbert, chairman of Caris Diagnostics.
Caris, based in Irving, Texas, provides specialized pathology research consultations to physicians nationwide. The firm, with existing branches in Newton, Mass. and Tempe, has annual sales of roughly $100 million, compared to MPI’s annual sales of around $7 million. Caris expects to increase further its workforce in the Phoenix area in the near future.
MPI has developed several proprietary diagnostic tests to guide disease treatment based on individual patients’ genomic or proteomic profiles and, in the case of cancer patients, the molecular characteristics of their tumors. MPI was launched with less than $2 million in December 2004 and now employs approximately 50 staff, half of whom have medical or doctoral degrees.
“MPI significantly expands our ability to help ensure that through the right diagnosis, patients get the right treatment, in the right dosage, at the right time,” said Halbert. “We look forward to putting our resources behind this already solid company to accelerate the achievement of its mission to develop and direct new diagnostic tests into clinical practice.”
MPI’s subsidiary, the Tissue Banking and Analysis Center Inc., which will also join Caris, provides biospecimen procurement, storage, tracking, analysis, and reporting for research institutes, pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies, and medical centers. One of MPI’s chief partners is US Oncology, which oversees clinical trials for many pharmaceutical companies’ drug-research divisions; MPI provides US Oncology with biospecimen collection and analysis for those clinical trials.
“Together, we are well aligned in our mission to accelerate personalized medicine by not only introducing diagnostics that provide more effective individualized treatments, but also assisting our partners with their clinical trials,” said Robert J. Penny, MPI’s chairman and chief executive officer, and a member of IGC’s board of directors.
Like MPI, Caris has evolved quickly. Its Massachusetts branch opened in June, the product of another merger, and its Tempe facility is only a month older. A year ago it changed its name from Pathology Partners Inc. and added George Poste, director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, to its board of directors.
“As a parent, one of the things you hope for the most is [your child] will grow up and marry the right person. I am delighted with this marriage,” said Richard Mallery, chief executive of IGC, in the Arizona Republic.
Mallery serves on MPI’s board of directors with TGen’s president, Jeffrey Trent, and former chief operating officer, Richard Love.
(Editor’s note: The Flinn Foundation provided financial resources to assist in establishing the Molecular Profiling Institute.)
For more information:
“Research lab sold for $40 mil,” Arizona Republic, 12/07/2007