Veracyte Partners with AstraZeneca Unit to Provide Genomic Data to Develop Oncology Therapeutics

Edward Kim  |

Genomics diagnostics pioneer Veracyte closed out 2019 by acquiring the exclusive global license to NanoString's nCounter platform, an FDA-cleared, automated system that can simultaneously analyze RNA, DNA or protein targets in up to 800 genes. The deal positioned Veracyte to expand its genomic diagnostics business globally, with the ability to deliver its advanced genomic tests to physicians and their patients via hospital and clinical laboratories throughout the European Union and other parts of the world.

With the nCounter deal, Veracyte stated that the platform would enable it to access a global market worth more than $40 billion for its current and pipeline products, while expanding its margins through test menu expansion on the nCounter platform.

In its follow-up to that transaction, Veracyte announced today that it has entered into a multi-year partnership with Acerta Pharma, the hematology research and development arm of AstraZeneca, to provide genomic information to support Acerta's development of oncology therapeutics. Financial and other terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.

We are excited to partner with Acerta Pharma and AstraZeneca, global leaders whose innovative medicines are benefitting millions of patients worldwide. This collaboration reflects the significant value we can bring to biopharmaceutical companies through our expanding global footprint, as well as our ability to potentially inform diagnosis and treatment decisions in new oncology indications.

- Bonnie H. Anderson, Chairman and CEO, Veracyte.

We have been longtime followers of Veracyte and Ms. Anderson, whose career spans over 30 years in regulated diagnostics and life science markets. She co-founded Veracyte in 2008, led its IPO in 2013 and has spearheaded commercialization of the company's market-leading products.

The company reported 32% revenue growth to $31 million in the third quarter ended September 30, 2019, with 24% growth in genomic testing volume. Veracyte has reiterated full year revenue guidance of $119 million to $122 million.

Veracyte's corporate performance has been reflected in the stock price, which hit an all-time high of $31.18 this past summer. Shares are at $27.21 in mid-afternoon Wednesday trading, for a market capitalization of about $1.4 billion.

We think the company is well positioned to continue to leverage its innovations in genomic technology and machine learning to improve diagnostic accuracy while reducing risky, costly and often unnecessary surgeries.

Edward Kim is Managing Editor of Equities.com.

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