A Medical Device Daily

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 (Medical Device Daily, Dec. 18, 2008). 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.

Boston Scientific (Natick, Massachusetts) reported that it has acquired Labcoat (Galway, Ireland), a privately held, development-stage drug-eluting stent technology company. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Labcoat has developed a technology for coating drug-eluting stents that uses precisely metered droplets of a biodegradable polymer and drug formulation to create a thin (<1 micron) coating confined to the outer surface of a coronary stent.

This technology is designed to significantly reduce the amount of polymer and drug to which the vessel wall is exposed, while minimizing polymer and drug on the inner surface of the stent where endothelial cell growth is required for healing. Once the drug has been delivered, the biodegradable coating resorbs, leaving behind only the bare-metal stent.

This approach is intended to provide the same degree of restenosis reduction as a conventional drug-eluting stent, but faster and more complete vessel healing after stent implantation.

"Boston Scientific has enjoyed an ongoing, productive relationship with Labcoat, and we look forward to building on our shared commitment to developing new drug-eluting stent technologies that improve patient outcomes," said Jim Tobin, president/CEO of Boston Scientific. "This technology represents a major advance for drug-eluting stents and should help us maintain our strong position in this market."

Labcoat has successfully completed a clinical trial with its Jactax stent, which consists of a Boston Scientific bare-metal Libert stent coated on its outer surface with a biodegradable polymer containing the drug paclitaxel. Clinical data presented at TCT 2008 showed promising results for both restenosis and strut coverage nine months after implantation. These data will be used to support CE-mark submission, which is expected to occur in the first half of this year. European launch of a new drug-eluting stent incorporating this technology is planned following regulatory approval.

Boston Sci said it plans to evaluate the Labcoat technology for use on both its paclitaxel and everolimus families of drug-eluting stents.

In other dealmaking news:

U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group (Valencia, California), an operator of occupational healthcare centers, reported the acquisition of First Care Occupational Medical Group (Valencia) and First Care Walk-In Medical Group (Saugus, California). This acquisition expands U.S. HealthWorks' presence in the California market to 65 medical centers, with a total of 119 nationwide.

Both medical centers integrate the full spectrum of occupational medicine, including injury and illness diagnosis and treatment, preventive services, pre-placement and post-offer exams and testing, physical therapy, return-to-work programs and orthopedic services.

West Branch Medical (Brookhaven, Pennsylvania) and Waltec Medical, two Philadelphia-area device sales and marketing organizations, reported that they have merged operations to provide customers an enhanced portfolio of products and greater operational efficiencies. The combined entity will maintain the West Branch Medical name.

West Branch offers a portfolio of products designed to meet the unique product needs of the maternal child health market with a particular focus on the NICU/ICN segment.

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.