PIF-owned Lifera & CENTOGENE form JV to bring world-class multiomic testing to GCC

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
  • Follow author on
Lifera_CENTOGENE multiomic testing
Rep.Image (Courtesy: Martin Lopez/Pexels)

CENTOGENE, the Germany-based essential life science partner for data-driven answers in rare and neurodegenerative diseases, and Lifera, a biopharmaceutical company wholly owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), have formed a Joint Venture (JV) to increase local and regional access and rapid delivery of world-class multiomic testing to patients in the kingdom and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Under the collaboration, CENTOGENE will receive a $30 million mandatory convertible loan from Lifera. CENTOGENE, the current market leader in outsourced genetic testing for patients in Saudi Arabia, will provide its leading diagnostics and multiomics expertise to the JV, which together with Lifera’s strong local presence and resources, will establish widespread access to local state-of-the-art genetic sequencing tailored to regional needs.

The JV will build an advanced laboratory and bioinformatics infrastructure, leveraging the CENTOGENE Biodatabank, the world’s largest real-world integrated multiomic data repository in rare disease biobanks globally and neurodegenerative diseases, which has more than 70 million and over 35,000 Saudi Arabian patient datasets. The JV will develop capabilities for genetic testing and interpretation working collaboratively with CENTOGENE globally, serving as a vehicle for large national screening and genomics programs.

As such, patients in Saudi Arabia and the GCC, a rapidly growing region with over 56 million inhabitants, will have increased access to the world’s most advanced and effective diagnostic offerings, which is at the core of Lifera’s strategic objectives contribute to improving national resilience and health outcomes in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Ibrahim Aljufalli_Lifera_CENTOGENE form JV
Dr. Ibrahim Aljufalli
Chairman – Lifera

“This strategic collaboration is a reflection of Lifera’s mission to grow Saudi Arabia’s biopharma sector. With CENTOGENE’s expertise in the field of rare, metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases, we see tremendous potential value for the JV to provide more timely and accurate diagnoses which are crucial to patients and their families, driven by a comprehensive diagnostic portfolio that goes beyond standard laboratory testing and medical interpretation. This collaboration will also enable biopharma research in rare diseases and provide resources to foster collaborative research across Saudi Arabia and with global partners.”

“Teaming up with Lifera marks a significant step forward in our mission to deliver data-driven, life-changing answers to patients around the world and forms a pathway to achieving sustainable growth and profitability for CENTOGENE. As part of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia has designed impressive programs to improve health outcomes throughout the region. This JV will now build on CENTOGENE’s extensive know-how and current leading position in the Saudi market, as well as Lifera’s deep understanding of the local healthcare landscape to actively contribute to these healthcare initiatives. This, along with Lifera’s investment, secures CENTOGENE a committed strategic partner for the future,” said Mr. Kim Stratton, CEO at CENTOGENE.

The partnership enables Lifera and CENTOGENE to invest in the JV. CENTOGENE will also be eligible for significant JV performance-related milestone payments and revenue-based royalties until the year 2033. Both parties will be represented on the board of the JV. The agreement also foresees that two Lifera representatives will join CENTOGENE’s Supervisory Board.

Lifera will make an investment into CENTOGENE in the form of a $30 million mandatorily convertible loan which shall convert before 2024 into common stock of CENTOGENE at a conversion price of $2.20. The loan is expected to be entered into, closed, and funded within 90 days from the date of the announcement subject to the final negotiation and completion of the transaction and the signing of definitive agreements.

Additional information regarding this announcement can be found in a Current Report on Form 6-K that the Company intends to file today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Related: Emirati Genome Program unveils new visual identity