Agilent Pulls the Plug on $695M Resolution Cancer Companion Diagnostic Venture, 2 Years After Acquisition

Agilent Technologies, Resolution Bioscience, liquid biopsy, ctDx FIRST test

Following its acquisition of Resolution Bioscience for a sum exceeding $500 million, Agilent Technologies has made the decision to close down the venture. Resolution Bioscience was focused on developing liquid biopsy tests, employing next-generation sequencing technology as companion diagnostics for cancer patients.

“The Agilent team executed well in challenging macroeconomic market conditions during the quarter, particularly in China. Looking forward, we believe the current market environment is transitory, and are confident in our team and the long-term growth prospects of our end markets.”

– Agilent President and CEO Mike McMullen

Agilent’s acquisition of Resolution Bioscience was swiftly executed in the spring of 2021, with the financial exchange totaling $550 million upfront, accompanied by a potential additional $145 million contingent on Resolution’s blood tests achieving specific commercial milestones.

The initial outlook for Agilent was optimistic, anticipating a substantial increase in Resolution’s revenues under its stewardship—projections aimed to elevate annual revenues from around $35 million pre-acquisition to over $50 million within the first year of integration with Agilent.

However, challenges within the Resolution division, coupled with setbacks in Agilent’s genomics sector, tempered what could have been a significant success for the company’s diagnostics and genomics segment during the quarter. Despite solid growth in the pathology business and a notable boost in nucleic acid therapeutics, Agilent’s overall segment growth reached only 3% year-over-year, totaling $349 million for the quarter, due to the headwinds experienced in Resolution and genomics.

The winding down of the Resolution business is slated to continue throughout the final quarter of Agilent’s fiscal year 2023, culminating by the early months of fiscal 2024, as indicated by Robert McMahon, Agilent’s Chief Financial Officer, during the company’s conference call. The shuttering process prompted Agilent to absorb a pre-tax charge of $291 million in the third quarter.

During its brief tenure as an Agilent subsidiary, Resolution achieved a noteworthy milestone: securing FDA approval for its Resolution ctDx FIRST test. This groundbreaking achievement granted the test the distinction of being the first liquid biopsy NGS (Next-Generation Sequencing) test authorized for use as a companion diagnostic. The test was designed to identify individuals with advanced non-small cell lung cancer possessing specific genetic mutations, making them promising candidates for Mirati Therapeutics’ Krazati treatment.

In addition to this accomplishment, Agilent furthered Resolution’s reach by forming a collaborative partnership with Quest Diagnostics. This strategic move aimed to enhance accessibility to the blood test for non-small cell lung cancer patients across the United States.

In the complex landscape of biomedical advancements, Agilent’s journey with Resolution Bioscience exemplifies the industry’s dynamism and the intricate balance between ambitious investment and real-world outcomes.

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