CoreBiome, a University of Minnesota spinoff firm focused on rapid genetic analysis of communities of microorganisms, is being acquired for undisclosed terms by OraSure Technologies, the Pennsylvania-based maker of personal HIV tests and kits for securely transporting genetic samples.
The deal to acquire CoreBiome is expected to close within the next week for an undisclosed upfront cash payment, with the possibility of milestone payments based on future performance, OraSure executives said Friday.
The acquisition of CoreBiome and a separate deal, also announced Friday, to buy a Belgian firm called Novosanis is expected to add as much as $7 million to OraSure's top line revenue this year, and dilute OraSure's adjusted earnings by up to 5 cents per share.
"The global microbiome market is expected to grow by double digits, from approximately $325 million in 2017 to $725 million or more in 2022," OraSure CEO Stephen Tang said Friday.
The CoreBiome deal will allow OraSure capture new market segments, he said.
In the health care context, a "microbiome" is a community of microorganisms that collectively contain far more genetical material than their host, potentially exerting invisible influences on health.
For example, changes in the microbiome of natural bacteria in the human gut are thought to contribute to a wide range of health issues, from health care-acquired infections to allergies to mental health. Gut research is ongoing in all of those areas and many more.
The same technology can be used to analyze microbial communities in agricultural and environmental research.
CoreBiome's key offering is quick and accurate analysis and characterization of these human and nonhuman microbiomes. Current applications include gut-microbe science, drug-discovery research, soil-productivity enhancement, and food- and water-quality monitoring, CoreBiome's website says.
"Our goal has been to accelerate discovery of microbiome-based solutions combining genomics and machine learning innovation to help customers leverage that big data and to make world-class microbiome expertise available on-demand," CoreBiome CEO Dan Knights said in a U news release about the deal.
CoreBiome, founded in 2016 in St. Paul, is one of 140 companies that have been launched out of the U's Venture Center, and the fourth to be acquired in 18 months, the U said in its announcement.
OraSure executives were tight-lipped about their future plans for CoreBiome's technology — in part because CoreBiome is still an earlier-stage company and its capabilities are still being built. A spokeswoman also cited competitive reasons in declining to comment.
The announcement said CoreBiome's offerings will "leverage" the sales and marketing resources of OraSure's DNA Genotek subsidiary, which offers products for secure at-home collection of biological samples like saliva and gut microbes for genetic analysis.