bioMérieux is making a $7 million equity investment in San Diego-based Banyan Biomarkers as part of a partnership agreement to develop and commercialize in vitro diagnostics for traumatic brain injury (TBI) using Banyan’s proprietary TBI blood biomarkers. The deal gives bioMérieux preferred rights to develop the biomarker assays for use on its VIDAS® immunoassay platform. The partners will also explore other potential co-development prospects in TBI and other areas including critical care.

Banyan was founded by scientists from the University of Florida McKnight Brain Institute to develop in vitro diagnostic tests for the detection of brain injury and neurological diseases. The firm’s TBI diagnostic platform is based on two proprietary brain-specific protein biomarkers, Banyan UCH-L1™ and Banyan GFAP™, which appear in the blood after a brain injury. Banyan’s product pipeline also includes biomarkers for stroke, depression, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and neurological ICU monitoring.

“We have been especially impressed by the quality of the team at Banyan Biomarkers, the thoroughness of their work and the promising data,” said François Lacoste, corporate vp, clinical unit at bioMérieux. “This partnership with Banyan Biomarkers illustrates our commitment to bring pioneering high medical value diagnostic solutions to the physicians and help them improve patient care and reduce healthcare spending.”

“bioMérieux’s illustrious history, scientific excellence, strong market presence, and culture of growth and innovation are reasons we are very optimistic about our ability to jointly transform the global diagnosis of TBI with our biomarker assay on the VIDAS range of instruments,” added Hank Nordhoff, Banyan chairman and CEO.

Banyan says it has secured over $100 million in grants and contracts. The firm raised $8 million in its Series A fundraising in 2013. A pivotal, 2000-patient TBI trial has been funded through a $26.3 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense. Most recently, in August 2016, Banyan inked a TBI biomarker collaboration with Quanterix, and at the start of 2016 the firm teamed up with Royal Philips to develop and commercialize a handheld blood test, based on Philips’ Minicare I-20 system, for detecting and evaluating mild TBI, or concussion, at the point of care.

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