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Companion diagnostics: recent life science industry trends

Posted on 15 April 2014

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Companion diagnostics is an increasingly active component of healthcare business and life science deals development suggests industry trends.

Personalized medicine, including companion diagnostics has become a trending area in deal making for a few years now.

Companion diagnostics, linked to a particular drug therapy under personalized medicine, is gaining higher importance.

This was evidenced in the acquisition of cancer diagnostics company Dako by Agilent in May 2012 for $2.2 billion, a megamerger in terms of deal value. Dako focusses on developing potential companion diagnostics for cancer thus helping Agilent to strengthen its position in this emerging life sciences space.

According to the Current Agreements life science deals and alliance database, there have been over 250 companion diagnostics deals since 2009 till end of April 2014.

The following figure shows companion diagnostic partnering frequency between 2009 and 2014 and was correct at the time publication at the end of April 2014.

It is clearly evident that partnering activity has increased significantly since 2009 with a peak in activity seen in 2011.

Figure 1: Companion Diagnostics partnering since 2009








Source: Current Agreements, 2014

Companion diagnostics are assays that measure levels of proteins, genes or specific mutations, enabling patient selection and specific therapy to be administered, and its therapeutic effects to be measured. For more on companion diagnostics definition and description visit the Current Partnering glossary page.

According to the database Current Agreements, big pharma companies don’t seem to play a major role in signing deals involving companion diagnostic assets. However, interest has been growing in recent years by the acquisition of companion diagnostic company assets.  The most active big pharma companion diagnostic deal makers are Roche (16 deals) and Pfizer (12 deals).

The following list provides an insight into the most active dealmakers in companion diagnostics partnering between 2009 and 2014. The leading players are Qiagen, Dako, Ventana Medical Systems, Pfizer and DxS. Most of the above mentioned companies are diagnostic companies which focus on oncology and have recently entered into several deals to enhance R&D in cancer treatment.

Figure 2: Active companion diagnostics dealmaking activity– 2009 to 2014






Source: Current Agreements, 2014

As an emerging and exciting area for therapeutic intervention, companion diagnostics deal making can have a high headline deal value.

The following figure shows the leading companion diagnostic deals by headline value of the deal when announced.

 Figure 3: Top companion diagnostics deals by value since 2009
















Source: Current Agreements, 2014

The therapy area where companion diagnostics deals are mainly focused around is oncology with around 240 deals signed since 2009.

Other therapeutic focus areas in companion diagnostics partnering are in psychiatry, infectives and immunology.

Figure 4: Companion diagnostics partnering by therapeutic area since 2009

















Source: Current Agreements, 2014

The Companion Diagnostics Partnering Terms and Agreements report published by Current Partnering provides full details of over 200 companion diagnostics drugs deals announced since 2007 and includes average deal terms including headline, upfront, milestone and royalty rates. In addition, the report provides details of deals broken down by deal type, stage of development, company A-Z and technology type. More details here

There is a huge expectation in the advancement and development of companion diagnostics as it shows promise in personalized treatment. It would be interesting to witness the deal making activity and trends in this sector in the coming years.


The above information has been abstracted from the following resources:

Shamini Thiagarajan



Read: more companion diagnostics  deals in pharma, biotech, life science partnering deal news, insights and glossary

View : glossary definition for companion diagnostics

ReportCompanion Diagnostics Partnering Terms and Agreements report

View also: Other technology type reports

View: Current Partnering’s Partnering Scorecard – view top life science partnering deals by value

View: Current Partnering’s Deal Metrics – the latest deal trend infographics for life science deal making

View: Current Partnering’s Big Pharma Deal Making Scorecard – latest trends in big pharma deal making activity

Signup: Current Partnering Dealmakers Update – weekly newsletter providing the latest life science industry deal news, deal making trends, partnering events – sign up now

Signup: Current Agreements Deals Review – monthly newsletter – reviewing the previous month’s life science deal making – partnering, M&A and financing – sign up now

Subscribe: Current Agreements life sciences partnering, M&A and financing deals database – find out more

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