A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Riverside Partners (Boston) reported the sale of its portfolio company, MicroCal (Northampton, Massachusetts), to GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin) for an undisclosed sum.

MicroCal develops microcalorimeters that provide detailed information on the structure, function and binding properties of a wide range of biomolecules such as proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and antibodies. The company said the growing trend toward structure-based drug design, together with the expansion in biopharmaceutical development is driving an increase in the use of microcalorimetry as a standard technique in pharmaceutical research.

MicroCal's technology provides scientists with detailed information across several stages of the drug discovery process, reducing the potential for late-stage drug candidate failures.

MicroCal's technology is already used in more than 1,000 laboratories worldwide.

"We have appreciated the support, contributions and confidence of Riverside Partners, and now are ready to continue in a new chapter as part of GE Healthcare," said Dr. Richard Brown, CEO at MicroCal. "We see great potential for this business. The resources of GE Healthcare and the wider GE group will allow us to significantly widen our reach and to accelerate our ability to help scientists increase their understanding of molecular interactions."

MicroCal was founded in 1977 by Dr. John Brandts, a professor of chemistry at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst). The company has 75 employees and grew revenues by 25% in 2007 to $21 million.

GE Healthcare also reported that it has acquired Agility Healthcare Solutions (Glen Allen, Virginia). Financial terms were not disclosed.

Agility, a private company, provides products that are designed to transform hospital workflow and patient care management. Its AgileTrac technology provides enterprise resource management, asset tracking, and clinical workflow solutions in the healthcare industry.

The company will become part of GE Healthcare's global Diagnostic Imaging Services business.

"Agility was one of the first companies to use RTLS [real time location systems] to deliver workflow and resource management solutions to the healthcare industry," said Rob Reilly, general manager, GE Healthcare Services. "By leveraging the AgileTrac solution and its integration with other hospital systems, GE Healthcare will be able to expand our capability to help hospitals proactively manage the unique needs of diverse patient populations."

Separately, SurModics (Eden Prairie, Minnesota), a provider of surface modification and drug delivery technologies to the healthcare industry, reported the acquisition of the CodeLink Activated Slide microarray business from GE Healthcare. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

CodeLink Activated Slides use SurModics' PhotoLink technology to create a three-dimensional matrix that allows the attachment of biomolecules (including DNA, RNA and proteins) to form microarrays. SurModics continues to manufacture the products, which were marketed by GE Healthcare under the CodeLink brand.

SurModics is a pioneer in providing surface chemistry to the microarray field, introducing its first genomics product to the market in 1999.

In other dealmaking news, Invitrogen (Carlsbad, California) reported filing a formal notification to the European Commission (EC) concerning its pending acquisition of Applied Biosystems (Foster City, California). The EC has 25 business days following the date of notification to respond to the filing.

The company said it continues to expect the transaction to close in November, subject to shareholder and EC approvals.