Centogene N.V. and Lifera have announced a strategic collaboration with the formation of a joint venture (JV) to increase local and regional access and rapid delivery of multiomic testing to patients in Saudi Arabia and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). \n\n\n\nUnder the terms of the collaboration, Centogene will receive a $30 million mandatory convertible loan from Lifera. \n\n\n\nCentogene, a provider of outsourced genetic testing for patients in Saudi Arabia, will provide its diagnostics and multiomics knowledge to the JV, which together with Lifera’s local presence and resources, will establish access to local genetic sequencing tailored to regional needs. \n\n\n\nThe JV will build a laboratory and bioinformatics infrastructure – leveraging the Centogene Biodatabank, which has more than 70 million and over 35,000 Saudi Arabian patient datasets. \n\n\n\nThe 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. \n\n\n\n“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,” said Ibrahim Aljufalli, chairman of the Lifera board. \n\n\n\n'Strategic partner'\n\n\n\n“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,” said Kim Stratton, chief executive officer at Centogene. \n\n\n\n“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.”\n\n\n\nTerms of the agreement between Lifera and Centogene\n\n\n\nUnder the terms of the agreement, Lifera and Centogene will make an investment into the JV. Centogene will also be eligible for JV performance-related milestone payments and revenue-based royalties until 2033. Both parties will be represented on the board of the JV. \n\n\n\nLifera will make an investment into Centogene in the form of a $30 million mandatorily convertible loan, which will convert before 2024 into common stock of Centogene at a conversion price of $2.20. The loan is expected to be entered into, close, and fund 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.\n\n\n\nWhen asked about human rights in Saudi Arabia, a statement to Labiotech said Centogene is focused on "providing access to the highest attainable standard of health, one of the fundamental rights of every human being, according to the WHO, no matter where they live. Saudi Arabia’s efforts in their healthcare reform program and Vision 2030 are a significant step towards addressing healthcare challenges for the Saudi population. The JV with Lifera directly supports this by providing more localized access to multiomic testing and subsequently improving patient care."