ArcherDX Enters Newborn Screening Market with Baby Genes Acquisition
ArcherDX is expanding its product portfolio with newborn and screening tests to identify carriers of genetic variants linked to different disorders, including cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, and fragile X syndrome.
The company has acquired the genetics-based personalized medicine laboratory Baby Genes, which will operate under the name ArcherDX Clinical Services.
“We have a long, positive working relationship with Baby Genes and from day one we saw natural alignment between the two organizations regarding our shared commitment to accelerating the adoption and application of personalized health,” Jason Myers, PhD, co-founder and CEO of ArcherDX, said in a press release.
Baby Genes assets will be incorporated into ArcherDX’s corporative structure. This will include Baby Gene’s CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited genetics laboratory located in Golden, Colorado, and the newborn screening panel that investigates more than 100 genes involved in 72 clinically relevant inherited disorders. The company will continue to market the existing newborn and carrier screening services under the Baby Genes brand name.
The laboratory also provides customized confirmatory and reflex testing services to physicians. The addition of the lab will help ArcherDX extend its potential to cover the genetic testing market, while understanding and anticipating customers’ needs, Myers said.
“Archer’s mission is to democratize personalized medicine and decentralization of testing is fundamentally important to the success of personalized medicine because of the efficiencies and accuracies that are gained when testing is done locally,” he added.
Spinal muscular atrophy is a genetic disorder caused by defects in the coding sequence of the SMN1 gene. This disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner, meaning that a child with the disease must have acquired two defective copies of the gene, one from the father and one from the mother.
While people with only one mutated SMN1 copy do not develop the disease, they are carriers and can still transmit the defective gene version to their children. Therefore, identifying carriers is important for those planning to grow their families.
The addition of spinal muscular atrophy to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel for newborns in the United States has increased the use of newborn screening, but there are no standardized methods.
“We are looking forward to working with the broader ArcherDX team to expand the scope and availability of our proactive genetic health tests,” said Richard Sjogren, co-founder and CEO of Baby Genes, who will become the vice president of operations at ArcherDX.
“We see tremendous growth opportunities ahead as we continue to partner with innovative scientists, health care professionals and proactive individuals to make a difference in extending and improving the quality of life,” he stated.
ArcherDX Clinical Services will gain access to ArcherDX’s research and development installations headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, while all commercial services for both companies will be consolidated in the Golden laboratory.