Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) has announced the sale of its portfolio company, Base Genomics, to Exact Sciences for a total consideration of $410m, one of the largest diagnostic deals of its kind in the UK to date.
Base Genomics was incubated within OSI and founded by OSI Entrepreneur in Residence Ollie Waterhouse in 2018. The ambitious goal was to set new industry standards for the detection of methylated DNA, a critical tool for the detection of cancer at an early stage.
Methylated DNA is DNA that has changed due to environmental, rather than just genetic factors.
Base Genomics has developed the world’s leading DNA methylation technology. A breakthrough chemical invention called TAPS. Analysing DNA methylation is the most promising approach to detecting cancer early from a simple blood test and would transform patient outcomes.
Ollie worked alongside Dr Chunxiao Song and Dr Yibin Liu from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Branch at the University of Oxford to develop this new approach. OSI has financially backed the company since its inception, strengthening the team with commercial and scientific expertise and supporting it in its quest to make late detection of cancer a thing of the past.
The partnership with Exact Sciences, a market leader in early cancer detection, will enable Base Genomics to significantly accelerate its clinical and commercial development, potentially unlocking a new era of preventative medicine and improved patient outcomes.
Exact Sciences will continue to build on the Base Genomics team here in Oxford, creating a world-leading research centre for early-stage cancer detection. This is a major step forwards for OSI whose mission is to turn Oxford University’s science into real-world impact, establishing the city as a world-leading science and technology ecosystem.
Alexis Dormandy, Chief Executive Officer, OSI, said: “Our focus at OSI is to ensure Oxford’s world-leading science moves out of the laboratory and onto the global stage. We back companies from their inception and strengthen teams with commercial and scientific expertise. Base Genomics’ success is a perfect example of our model working at its best.
“This is one of the largest diagnostic deals in UK history and will position Oxford as a centre for early-stage cancer detection. OSI will reinvest the proceeds back into the Oxford ecosystem, creating more companies capable of tackling more of the world’s toughest problems.”
Ollie Waterhouse, Chief Executive Officer, Base Genomics, said: “I would like to thank OSI for their commitment to Base Genomics over the past two years, supporting us from inception to this next, exciting stage in our journey. We are delighted to be joining Exact Sciences, a world leader in early cancer detection that has focused on DNA methylation for over a decade. Together, we look forward to developing a multi-cancer early detection blood test, which could be one of the most impactful oncology products in history.”
In just five years, OSI has raised £613m in patient capital, establishing over 80 portfolio companies and the creation of over 900 jobs.
William Blair is serving as financial advisor to Base Genomics, and Bristows LLP is serving as legal advisor. XMS Capital is serving as financial advisor to Exact Sciences, and K&L Gates is serving as legal advisor.