In keeping with our mission to provide comprehensive advertising analysis, MediaRadar puts together a report of the most important mergers and acquisitions news each week. Stay in the loop, whether you sell advertising space or focus on business development.
This week, Apple buys machine learning company Inductive. Roche gains Stratos Genomics and Merck pushes closer to a COVID-19 vaccine by acquiring Themis.
Apple finalizes its purchase of Inductive
Apple has completed an acquisition of machine learning company Inductive Inc, which produces technology that automates the process of correcting flaws in data through the use of artificial intelligence.
Apple has remained secretive about its reasons behind the deal, commenting the company “buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Apple may be using Inductiv’s technology to make improvements on Siri to catch up to voice-recognition competitors like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. B
Inductiv could provide improvements such as a more natural sounding voice, a wider base of intelligence for offering suggestions in apps like Safari and Apple Podcasts and automated suggestions for reminders based on conversations picked up through iMessages.
Back in April this year, Apple acquired Voysis, which is another AI learning company to make improvements on Siri’s natural language understanding.
Roche acquires DNA sequencing company Stratos Genomics
Roche intends to use Stratos’ technology, Sequencing by Expansion (SBX) to develop its own nanopore sequencer, a method which enables real-time analysis of long DNA or RNA fragments by monitoring changes to an electrical current as nucleic acids pass through a protein nanopore.
Stratos is a startup founded in 2007 and has raised more than $60 million in venture capital, including investment from Roche. Stratos will continue operating out of its base in Seattle under the name Roche Diagnostics Seattle.
Earlier this year, Roche started a 15-year non-exclusive partnership with Illumina to advance adoption of next-generation sequencing assays for oncology. The partnership was created after Illumina’s $1.2 billion bid to acquire Pacific Biosciences of California (PacBio) was blocked by the FTC for anti-competition reasons.
Merck gains Themis as it explores COVID-19 vaccine candidates
Themis is currently engaged in developing a vaccine for COVID-19 and is said to have a pipeline of vaccine candidates and immune-modulatory therapies which have been developed through its measles virus vector platform.
In March, Themis joined a consortium with the Institut Pasteur and The Center for Vaccine Research at the University of Pittsburgh to develop vaccine candidates targeting Coronavirus. The consortium received funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and Merck is injecting an additional $200 million for the vaccine’s R&D.
Themis CEO Erich Tauber commented that the deal allows the companies to “exchange cassettes with antigens or immunomodulators without affecting anything of the manufacturing system.” All COVID-19 vaccine candidates are currently in pre-clinical development with clinical studies planned to begin later this year.
In Other News
These weren’t the only major developments from the past week. Check out what else is happening:
- Savant Systems has purchased General Electric’s lighting division for an estimated $250 million.
- Microsoft Corporation is in talks to acquire a $2 billion, or roughly 2.5% stake in Jio Platforms Ltd., the digital unit of India’s most valuable company, Reliance Industries Limited.
- According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com Inc. is in advanced talks to acquire self-driving car technology company Zoox Inc.
- According to Reuters, U.S. logistics company FedEx Corporation is close to taking a stake in German parcel delivery firm Hermes.
- Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. and Independent Bank Group, Inc. announced that they have mutually terminated their previously announced $5.5 billion merger.