A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Isis Pharmaceuticals (Carlsbad, California) and Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, Illinois) reported that Abbott has completed its previously disclosed purchase of Ibis Biosciences (also Carlsbad), an Isis subsidiary, for $175 million. In addition to the closing purchase price, Isis will receive earn-out payments from Abbott tied to post-closing sales of Ibis systems, including instruments and assay kits.

Previously, Abbott invested $40 million in Ibis in exchange for about 18.6% of Ibis' outstanding equity. This investment, along with the $175 million paid at closing, resulted in a total acquisition price of $215 million plus earn-out payments.

"We believe that Abbott is the ideal company to move the Ibis technology into larger commercial markets, such as clinical diagnostics, where Ibis' technology can revolutionize infectious disease detection," said Stanley Crooke, chairman/CEO of Isis. "With the earn-out, Isis and our shareholders will continue to participate in Ibis' success."

"This acquisition will enable Abbott to offer an innovative approach to the detection and characterization of a broad array of pathogens for the management of infectious diseases," said Stafford O'Kelly, VP, molecular diagnostics, Abbott. "Ibis' unique technology and talented team of scientists will help us continue building a long-term product pipeline for our growing molecular diagnostics business."

Ibis Biosciences has developed and is commercializing the Ibis T5000 biosensor system for rapid identification and characterization of infectious agents. The Ibis T5000 is currently intended for research use only and not for use in diagnostic procedures.

It is capable of identifying virtually all bacteria, viruses and fungi, and can provide information about drug resistance, virulence and strain type of these pathogens. Commercial applications for the Ibis T5000 Biosensor System include epidemiologic surveillance, monitoring of pandemic diseases, identification of emerging or previously unknown pathogens, forensic characterization of human samples, identification of sources of hospital-associated infections, and, in the future, human infectious disease diagnostics.

• PPD (Wilmington, North Carolina) reported that it has entered into a strategic collaboration with Merck (Whitehouse Station, New Jersey) involving vaccine testing and assay development. Under the agreements, PPD purchased Merck's 130,000-square-foot vaccine testing laboratory and related equipment in Wayne, Pennsylvania and hired the nearly 80 Merck employees who operate that facility. As part of this collaboration, PPD will be providing Merck with assay development and immunogenicity testing services to support Merck's vaccine portfolio over a period of five years.

In addition, PPD entered into an agreement with Merck that significantly expands its existing central laboratory service relationship. PPD will be providing traditional central laboratory and sample storage services to Merck for its clinical development activities over a period of five years.

The acquisition of Merck's vaccine testing facility significantly expands PPD's overall global central laboratory business, adding vaccine and biologic testing, assay development and sample storage capabilities to its current suite of laboratory services. PPD said it plans to invest in the newly acquired lab by developing new technologies and assays to expand its immunochemistry and oncology vaccine testing services as well as biologics lab services for other biopharmaceutical clients.

Financial terms of the transaction, which closed on Dec. 31, were not disclosed.