Bionano Genomics, Inc. has added another piece to its end-to-end solution for optical genome mapping.
On Nov. 28, San Diego-based Bionano announced it had acquired Pleasanton-based Purigen Biosystems, Inc. and its proprietary isotachophoresis (ITP) technology for isolating and purifying of nucleic acids – a tool that will potentially simplify ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) DNA isolation and purification for optical genome mapping (OGM) with more consistency at scale.
Bionano’s OGM system is a “unique and novel approach” that is “transforming the way the world sees the genome,” said Bionano CEO Erik Holmlin. OGM can visualize large rearrangements in the genome such as chromosomal aberrations or chromosome to chromosome changes that are not detectable by other methods like DNA sequencing. However, OGM requires extracting DNA strands “relatively intact,” which Bionano can do, Holmlin said, although with some dome difficulty.
“Purigen offers a technique that we believe will really make that process much faster, much easier for labs to practice,” Holmlin said. “Over the past decade, we believe Purigen’s talented team has developed best-in-class solutions for automated DNA and RNA extraction from complex samples. We are thrilled to welcome the Purigen team to Bionano and look forward to working together to transform the way the world sees the genome.”
Purigen’s ITP technology, licensed exclusively from Stanford University, is a solution-based purification approach that is more efficient than current protocols which often result in shorter average lengths of DNA than what optical genome mapping (OGM) requires. Bionano expects the ITP will accelerate the adoption of OGM due to anticipated improvements in its UHMW DNA sample preparation workflow.
Bionano’s OGM system is a “unique and novel approach” that is “transforming the way the world sees the genome”
In addition to the ITP technology, Bionano will benefit from Purigen’s Ionic Purification System – a commercially available platform for isolation of DNA and RNA from complex biological samples including those with low cell counts or otherwise challenging types such as formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tumor tissue.
“It means we will be able to introduce many new sample types that are not currently part of our workflow but make those sample types compatible with OGM,” Holmlin said.
Bionano’s transaction consideration for Purigen was for up to $64 million – $32 million cash up front and the remaining $32 million paid out based on development and commercialization milestones. As part of the deal, Bionano will retain Purigen’s staff and leadership team.
“It’s a really strong cultural fit,” said Bionano COO Mark Oldakowski. “The same values and same motivations drive that team as drive Bionano and we understand their technology – it is in line with the kind of technologies that underpin OGM and so we feel we have a real good handle on it and what we can make out of it in the future.”
Holmlin said the next step, now that the Purigen technology has undergone an extensive valuation process, is to design and develop a commercial kit around the technology’s capability that is OGM compatible.
The acquisition of Purigen is the latest in Bionano’s mission to create an end-to-end solution for the adoption of OGM. In August 2020, the company acquired Lineagen, a Salt Lake City-based diagnostic services company specializing in childhood neurodevelopmental disorders and autism. And in October of 2021, Bionano extended its data analytics capabilities with the acquisition of Los Angeles-based BioDiscovery, Inc.
“Bionano continuously seeks to enhance its technology portfolio with the goal of making OGM even more powerful and accessible,” Holmlin said, adding that the announcement of the Purigen acquisition is “another step towards that goal.”
Bionano Genomics, Inc.
CEO: Erik Holmlin
Headquarters: San Diego
Business: Genome analysis solutions for researchers and clinicians
Stock: BNGO (NASDAQ)
Revenue: $18 million (2021)
Notable: Bionano Genomics provides unparalleled structural variation detection for genetic disease research, cancer research and cytogenomics with Optical Genome Mapping.