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Seeing double at mtm

mtm's cervical cancer test fetches good VC return in takeout by Roche

Roche's acquisition of mtm laboratories AG will immediately give investors 2X the money they put into the biotech, with the potential for up to 3X. Under last week's deal, Roche (SIX:ROG; OTCQX:RHHBY) is buying the German diagnostics play for €130 million ($182.6 million) up front and up to €60 million ($84.3 million) in milestones, for a potential total of €190 million ($266.9 million).

Investors have put a little more than €58 million into the company since it was founded in 1999.

According to Arthur Franken, a partner at investor Gilde Healthcare Partners, mtm's CINtech PLUS cytology kit more accurately detects precancerous lesions of cervical cancer than the current standards, Pap tests and HPV assays. The kit was approved in Europe last year.

The EEMAPS trial looked at women with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASC-US) or low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL), which are Pap smear classifications that correlate with suspected low to moderate precancerous disease. In the trial, CINtech PLUS had similar sensitivity to HPV testing, but significantly better specificity: 80.6% vs. 36.3% for ASC-US and 68% vs. 19.1% for LSIL.

Franken noted that many women who are HPV-positive never develop a lesion, requiring unnecessary trips to the doctor.

He said the clinical data and European label gave prospective buyers confidence that the test could receive U.S. approval. Roche hasn't disclosed a timeline for a PMA submission in the U.S.

Public fund HBM BioVentures led mtm's series B round in 2003.

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