Life science company CENTOGENE and biopharmaceutical company Lifera have formed a joint venture (JV) in Saudi Arabia to expand access to data-driven multiomic testing.

Through the JV, patients, health systems, biopharma clients, and research institutions in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries would have faster access to multiomic testing on a local and regional level.

The agreement combines Lifera’s strong local presence and resources, along with CENTOGENE’s diagnostics and multiomics expertise to develop widespread access to local, advanced genetic sequencing that is customised as per the regional needs.

Lifera is owned by Public Investment Fund (PIF), a sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia.

The JV will also develop an advanced laboratory and bioinformatics infrastructure using the CENTOGENE Biodatabank, a real-world integrated multiomic data repository in rare disease biobanks globally and neurodegenerative diseases.

CENTOGENE Biodatabank is said to have around 70 million and more than 35,000 Saudi Arabian patient datasets.

Additionally, the JV will develop genetic testing and interpretation capabilities in collaboration with CENTOGENE on a global scale, acting as a platform for national screening and genomics initiatives.

Patients in Saudi Arabia and the GCC will have more access to the advanced diagnostic offerings, thus improving national resilience and health outcomes in Saudi Arabia, said the parties.

Lifera board chairman Ibrahim Aljufalli said: “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.”

According to the terms of the agreement, Lifera will give CENTOGENE a $30m mandatory convertible loan with a six-month term. The life science company will also be eligible for major JV performance-related milestone payments and revenue-based royalties till 2033.

Furthermore, both parties will be represented on the board of the JV and will make investments in it.

CENTOGENE CEO Kim Stratton said: “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.”