Cepheid, a Sunnyvale, Calif.,-based molecular diagnostic company, has acquired the Swedish firm Sangtec Molecular Diagnostics AB in a $27 million cash deal.
The acquisition brings Sangtec's Affigene family of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) molecular diagnostic kits in the immunocompromised market into Cepheid's existing line of in vitro diagnostic products for both Europe and the U.S. Sangtec's product line provides Cepheid with assay tools in the areas of cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr Virus, herpes simplex virus 1 and 2, hepatitis B, varicella zoster, BK virus and aspergillus.
Company officials could not be reached for comment but Cepheid CEO John Bishop said in a release that the acquisition immediately brings Cepheid three key strategic benefits. "First, Sangtec currently has a relatively complete line of products for potential use in managing infections of immunocompromised patients," he said. "Second, Sangtec has a very strong R&D team experienced in developing real-time PCR-based products, which will enable Cepheid to more expeditiously expand its clinical test product menu. Third, Sangtec has an accomplished manufacturing team noted for its ability to produce high-quality products." That will provide Cepheid an established reagent manufacturing base in Europe, he added.
Cepheid has carved its niche in genetic analysis in the clinical, industrial and biothreat markets. Its products include rapid genetic testing for organisms and genetic-based disease accomplished by automating complex manual procedures. In the clinical market the company has been working to identify infectious diseases and cancer. In the industrial market it focuses on food, agricultural and environmental testing, and in the biothreat market it works to identify bioterrorism agents.
Cepheid is scheduled to release its fourth quarter and 2006 annual financial results Feb. 22. Total product sales from the third quarter ending Sept. 30 increased 18 percent to $22.6 million, bringing the nine-month total to $60.8 million, up 4 percent from the same period a year earlier.
That quarter also saw Cepheid branch out into a new direction, into the micro RNA field, with the purchase of Actigenics, a small Toulouse, France-based company.
Actigenics added to the Cepheid fold bioinformatics algorithms that identify proprietary microRNA candidates. That work is geared to take advantage of studies that indicate that microRNA-based cancer markers could help detect, classify and predict cancer tumor aggressiveness and treatment susceptibility. The company also is pursuing microRNA-based markers of infection and inflammation.
The company said it expects the acquisition of Sangtec to have a slightly negative impact on operating income in the first quarter, but should enhance them for the balance of the year. Overall, it said, the purchase should have a neutral impact for the entire year.