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Exact Sciences Acquires San Diego Lab Equipment Supplier Biomatrica

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

Exact Sciences has gone from being a customer of Biomatrica, a San Diego-based vendor of equipment for storing and preserving blood and saliva samples, to now being the company’s owner.

Madison, WI-based Exact (NASDAQ: EXAS), which is developing diagnostic tests for several types of cancer, said Thursday that it has acquired Biomatrica for an undisclosed sum.

Biomatrica manufactures and sells tools for preserving biological samples. These include circulating tumor DNA, cells, and other biomarkers in blood, saliva, and tissue samples stored—and shipped from—laboratories across the globe, the company said.

Exact’s sole product on the market is Cologuard, a non-invasive, stool-based test for colorectal cancer developed in partnership with Mayo Clinic. However, the two organizations have also been working to advance tests for other forms of cancer in Exact’s pipeline.

Exact and Mayo Clinic said in June they had made progress toward developing a panel of blood-based DNA biomarkers that could help detect the most common form of liver cancer when the disease is still in its early stages.

Exact is also working with Mayo Clinic on a blood-based screening test for lung cancer, CEO Kevin Conroy said in an interview earlier this year.

Exact said this week that it plans to use Biomatrica’s technology to support ongoing work on the blood-based diagnostic tests Exact is developing with Mayo Clinic.

Biomatrica will keep its headquarters in San Diego, and operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Exact, the companies said. Biomatrica has 25 employees, a spokesperson for Exact said in an e-mail.

Launched in 2005, Biomatrica had raised more than $22 million in outside financing, according to SEC filings. The bulk of that total came in an $18.1 million equity funding round Biomatrica disclosed to securities regulators in December.

Nick Ecos, a general manager at Biomatrica, said in the release that his company sold products to Exact previously, though it’s not clear how long the two have done business together.

The deal marks Exact’s third acquisition in the past 18 months. In August 2017, it purchased the Salt Lake City-based IT business Sampleminded for $3.2 million in cash, plus shares of stock in Exact. Then, in December, it acquired Armune BioScience, a cancer diagnostic startup based in Michigan. Exact said in an SEC filing that it paid $12 million in cash for Armune, and could be on the hook for up to $17.5 million more in milestone payments.