Skyline Medical to explore CRO biz, nixes CytoBiosciences merger deal

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Skyline Medical, CytoBiosciences, Helomics

Skyline Medical today revealed plans for joint ventures with Helomics and CytoBiosciences looking to to explore services in the contract research organization industry, adding that it canceled its pending merger with CytoBiosciences to focus on the JVs.

The Minneapolis, Minn.-based company said that the expansion into the CRO field “represents a major opportunity for Skyline.”

“Personalized medicine, fueled by genomic testing and tailored treatment, is changing the world of healthcare. Both Helomics and CytoBioscience are established, revenue-producing businesses that provide services at the cutting edge of these compelling markets and we are excited to leverage these partnerships to position Skyline for long term growth,” Skyline Medical CEO Dr. Carl Schwartz said in a press release.

In its proposed JV with Helomics, Skyline said it will use its Helomics D-Chip platform to create new approaches for personalized cancer diagnosis and care. The deal follows a collaborative agreement between the companies announced last week and represents a deepening fo the relationship.

“The joint venture with Helomics is a unique opportunity to diversify into the precision medicine space. Helomics’s D-CHIP platform contains an extensive, searchable knowledge base of clinical and molecular data on patients with cancer and, with its ability to provide actionable data to drive both the targeting of current therapies to patients and the development of new drugs, is firmly at the cutting edge of bioinformatics / AI in precision medicine. In addition its specialty contract research services offers data-driven approaches to pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies that are developing the next generation of personalized drugs. We see significant potential to leverage this opportunity to diversify and grow revenues to advance Skyline’s long-term growth prospects,” Dr. Schwartz said in prepared remarks.

Skyline Medical is positioned to own 51% of the JV, with Helomics owning the other 49%, the company said.

“We are delighted to form this joint venture with Skyline Medical, which will enable us to expand the data set of our D-Chip platform which already contains the drug response profiles of over 149,000 patient tumors and their molecular, genomic, biochemical and histopathology data, together with de-identified patient data The joint venture will also accelerate our commercial  efforts to educate pharmaceutical companies on our D-CHIP enabled services to help with disease diagnosis and the development of new diagnostics and therapies,” Helomics prez & CEO Gerald Vardzel said in a prepared statement.

In its proposed JV with CytoBioscience, which it had inked a merger deal with in August, Skyline said it will provide access to CytoBioscience’s peronalized research services to expand its client base and expertise.

The deal comes at the cost of the merger, which Skyline said it has terminated “in order to focus on structuring the proposed joint venture.” Skyline has not yet released details of the proposed JV, promising that they will “be announced at a later date.

“We remain committed to pursuing a collaboration with CytoBioscience and believe forming a joint venture, rather than a merger, will not only significantly expedite the process but will allow us to leverage its client base and partners in the healthcare sector while maintaining tighter control over costs. The potential business synergies between Helomics and CytoBioscience in the field of personalized medicine are extremely encouraging and partnering with both companies will enable us to position Skyline as a leading player in this field,” Dr. Schwartz said in a prepared statement.

“We look forward to forming the joint venture so we can combine our solutions to build a strong medical technology business. Skyline’s collaboration with Helomics complements our ion channel screening services and the STREAMWAY System represents a unique solution to the global problem of toxic waste management. A joint venture will allow us to more rapidly combine forces to create a larger business that offers a range of innovative technologies,” CytoBioscience CEO Dr. James Garvin said in a press release.

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