Ignyta Announces Acquisition of Actagene Oncology and Entry into Oncology
--Company adds world class drug discovery and development veterans to
management and advisory team--
SAN DIEGO -- May 20, 2013
Ignyta, Inc. announced today that it has acquired Actagene Oncology, Inc.,
effective May 20, 2013. Actagene was a San Diego based privately held
biotechnology company founded in February 2013 that was developing
personalized medicines for high unmet need cancer indications, based on cancer
genome mining and sequencing.
With the acquisition, Ignyta has evolved its business strategy from a sole
focus on molecular diagnostics for autoimmune disease to an integrated “Rx/Dx”
focus on drug and biomarker discovery and development for cancer and
immunology. Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D., CEO of Actagene Oncology, has joined
Ignyta as Chief Scientific Officer and SVP, Head of Research. His
contributions to the field of oncology include over 100 publications and
patents and over 20 compounds brought into development, including the recently
approved anticancer drugs Xalkori (Crizotinib) and Inlyta (Axitinib),
discovered at Pfizer where Dr. O’Connor served as the Global Research
Therapeutic Area Head for Oncology.
Other additions to Ignyta’s management team include Jean-Michel Vernier,
Ph.D., who formerly led chemistry groups at Ardea Biosciences, Valeant
Pharmaceuticals and Merck Research Laboratories, to serve as VP, Medicinal
Chemistry; Paul Pearson, Ph.D., former Global Head and VP, Pharmacokinetics
and Drug Metabolism at Amgen, to head PK, Drug Metabolism & Safety; and Dave
Matthews, Ph.D., the scientific founder of Agouron Pharmaceuticals, to head
Crystallography at Ignyta.James Bristol, Ph.D., former Worldwide Head of
Pfizer Discovery and Former Head of Discovery and Chemistry at
Warner-Lambert/Parke Davis, at which site Lipitor was discovered by his
Chemistry team, joined Ignyta’s Scientific Advisory Board.
“The Actagene acquisition provides Ignyta with a strategic entry into oncology
personalized medicine, an area with high unmet medical need and opportunities
to give patients customized treatment options that leverage Ignyta’s biomarker
discovery capabilities. Ignyta also gains the addition of Patrick O’Connor and
the rest of his world class oncology drug hunter team that has collectively
discovered and developed 10 approved drugs representing over $5 billion in
2012 sales,” said Jonathan Lim, M.D., chairman and CEO of Ignyta. “Actagene’s
R&D team complements Ignyta’s existing team, platform and capabilities, such
as whole genome methylation analysis, next generation sequencing, Methylome™
database, and bioinformatics expertise. This transaction reshapes us into a
seamless Rx/Dx company pursuing a significant growth area of patient
stratification and targeted drug discovery and development for cancer
Actagene Oncology applies its proprietary Oncolome™ database and technologies
such as synthetic lethal screening, x-ray crystallography and structure-based
drug design to develop new chemical entities against genetic targets that are
enriched in certain cancer populations.
“I am excited for the Actagene team to join forces with the Ignyta team,
several of whom I had the pleasure to previously work with when I was at
Halozyme,” said Dr. O’Connor. “Actagene’s Oncolome platform will combine
synergistically with Ignyta’s Methylome platform to provide both genetic and
epigenetic insights from patient tumor samples to identify and pursue
personalized medicines against activated genes in cancer. The driving
scientific focus for our new company will be the discovery and development of
revolutionary new drugs targeting activated genes driving cancer growth and
evasion of the immune system.”
In addition to its new focus on targeted therapeutic discovery for cancer,
Ignyta will continue to advance its companion diagnostic initiatives to
generate epigenetic signatures that are predictive of treatment response for
specific drug mechanisms within both autoimmune disease and cancer.
About Ignyta, Inc.
Ignyta, Inc., located in San Diego, California, is a trailblazing
biotechnology company catalyzing personalized medicine with integrated Rx/Dx
solutions for cancer and immunology. Our goal is to discover and develop
revolutionary new drugs that target activated genes in cancer cells or
reactivate the immune system for the customized treatment of cancer patients.
We will achieve this goal by leveraging our proprietary cancer and immunology
genomic and epigenomic knowledge bases to discover novel targets and deliver
the next generation of targeted therapeutics accompanied by highly informative
biomarkers for patient selection, treatment, and monitoring.
The company was originally launched in August 2011 by Jonathan E. Lim, M.D.,
former president, CEO, and board director of Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc., and
Gary S. Firestein, M.D., director of the Clinical and Translational Research
Institute, Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine, and
Professor of Medicine at UC San Diego. In May 2013, Ignyta acquired Actagene
Oncology, Inc., which had been co-founded by Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D., former
CEO of Actagene and Global Research Therapeutic Area Head for Oncology at
Pfizer. For more information, please visit: www.ignyta.com.
Ignyta Media and Investor Contact:
Zachary Hornby, 858-255-5955
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