On January 2nd, the Psomagen–Macrogen Consortium announced the acquisition of all key assets of US company uBiome. Through the move, Psomagen has become a key player in the microbiome sector, a promising next-generation bio healthcare industry, with a competitive advantage in the US and global markets.
The acquisition includes a microbiome patent portfolio comprising 246 patents (60 registered US patents and 186 applications), anonymized microbiome data, nearly 300,000 samples, and laboratory equipment from uBiome’s laboratory in San Francisco. The acquisition price is USD 7.05 million, corresponding to 1% of uBiome’s estimated corporate value.
uBiome was a microbiome company based in San Francisco, known for its unique and competitive market presence in the field of sequencing on the microbiome’s 16S rRNA gene. The company’s patent portfolio in the field is rated the third best in the world, and the amount of the microbiome data the company had accumulated is the biggest in the world.
But in June of this year, one of the company’s co-founders resigned over a number of issues; this was followed by the loss of CLIA certification and CAP accreditation, rendering the company unable to conduct business. uBiome shortly filed for bankruptcy with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Since November, the company has been engaged in selling off its key assets. The Psomagen-Macrogen Consortium was selected as the preferred bidder from key competitors in the field from the US, the UK and Australia. The consortium, after chosen to acquire uBiome’s asset on December 17, finalized the deal on December 27.
With an increasing number of studies shedding light on the effects of human microbiome on various health-related conditions including neurological, cardiovascular, metabolic syndromes (diabetes, obesity, etc.) as well as cancer, the microbiome market is rapidly emerging as a growth-driving and high value-added industry. Global market research firm Frost & Sullivan has forecast an average annual growth rate of 7.6% for the global microbiome market, from USD 81.1 billion in 2019 to approximately USD 108.7 billion in 2023.
Psomagen intends to widen its competitive edge and preemptively fulfill the rapidly growing global microbiome market by developing safer and more competitive services than their current service offerings through R&D in addition to the newly acquired patents and data. The microbiome data of almost 300,000 samples from uBiome is expected to be particularly useful in integrating and developing various business areas such as personalized cosmetics, diets, healthcare and new drug development.
Psomagen CEO Ryan W. Kim commented,
“The acquisition is a brilliant move that will allow Psomagen to gain global competitiveness and leadership in the microbiome market. It has given us a substantial upper hand in the fiercely competitive microbiome market.”
Macrogen CEO Kap-Seok Yang also remarked on the acquisition:
“The acquisition of the uBiome assets is the second strategic move of the consortium in the microbiome market after the joint partnership and investment in Microba, an Australian microbiome company, earlier this year. It will enable us to offer better service in the short term, but more importantly, it will be a foundation of the new platform businesses we are building based on genomic data of both human and microbiome.”