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Posted on Tue, Oct 9, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

Former U-M startup Compendia Bioscience acquired by California biotech corporation

By Ben Freed

Compendia Bioscience has joined the growing list of companies that have been acquired by major biotechnology corporations after being spun off from technology created at the University of Michigan.

Compendia, a former Deals of the Year nominee, operates a cancer profiling database used by at least 15 of the top 20 cancer drug companies in the world.

California-based Life Technologies Corp. acquired the privately held company that employs 34 people in Ann Arbor. Compendia will remain in Ann Arbor for the time being, and CEO Daniel Rhodes will join Life Technologies.

Rhodes co-founded the company in 2006 while he was still a student, along with U-M medical school professor Arul Chinnaiyan, who developed the Oncomine database that is the basis for the startup’s success. Chinnaiyan will serve as a strategic advisor to Life Technologies.

Oncomine, a cancer profiling database has previously been used to help pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline identify biological “red flags” that could lead to higher likelihoods of cancer.

Life Technologies said in a press release it intends to bring the technology to the clinical world as well, giving doctors the opportunity to see how their patient’s information compares to the large data sets available in the database.

"It was always a vision of the company to use our research business serving the pharmaceutical industry to also form a more clinical business," Rhodes said in a release. "We are joining forces with a partner who shares the same vision."

In addition to bringing the database to the clinical realm, Life Technologies plans to use it for its own testing and research as well as to partner with pharma companies in the future.

Compendia’s path was paved by Accuri Cryometers, HandyLab, HealthMedia, and Arbor Networks, all of which have all been brought to acquisition after starting in the university’s Office of Technology Transfer.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Life Technologies said in a release that Compendia is expected to be neutral to the company’s 2012 earnings, and will show return on investment by 2015.

Ben Freed covers business for Reach him at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Tue, Oct 9, 2012 : 10:04 p.m.