Molecular cytology diagnostics firm Veracyte is acquiring Massachusetts-based company Allegro Diagnostics for $21 million—$7.8 million in cash, $13.2 million in Veracyte common stock. Allegro's primary focus is on developing diagnostic tests for lung cancer, and Veracyte plans to launch Allegro's lead lung cancer test in the second half of 2015.

Allegro say its lung cancer test can help physicians determine which patients with lung nodules who have had a nondiagnostic bronchoscopy result are at low risk for cancer and thus do not need invasive procedures. The gene expression test uses a “field of injury” genomic technology platform that allows for the testing of cytology samples obtained through bronchoscopy rather than surgery. The technology can, according to the firm, detect molecular changes that occur throughout the respiratory airways in response to smoking and that are correlated with disease. 

Veracyte's president and CEO Bonnie H. Anderson said in a statement that this acquisition will allow the firm to enter the pulmonology market. “Allegro is a natural fit for us and we believe this move further establishes our leadership in molecular cytology, using genomics to resolve diagnostic ambiguity preoperatively and thus spare patients from unnecessary invasive procedures and reduce associated healthcare costs,” she added.

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