A Diagnostics & Imaging

Gen-Probe (San Diego) reported that its board has authorized the repurchase of up to $250 million of the company's common stock over the next two years.

"Based on our healthy balance sheet and strong operating cash flows, we believe we can increase long-term shareholder value and offset dilution from employee stock programs by buying back stock, while at the same time retaining the strategic and operational flexibility to invest appropriately in our business," said Herm Rosenman, Gen-Probe senior vice president/CFO.

Under the plan, repurchases may occur from time to time and at Gen-Probe's discretion, depending on market conditions and other factors. Shares may be purchased on the open market or through private transactions, pursuant to Rule 10b5-1 trading plans or other available means.

The company has about 54.2 million shares of common stock outstanding. As of June 30, it had $499.2 million of cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, and no debt. Gen-Probe generated $91.7 million of cash from operating activities in the first half of 2008.

Gen-Probe is a developer of nucleic acid tests that are used primarily to diagnose human diseases and screen donated human blood.

In other financing news, SIRS-Lab (Jena, Germany) reported the closing of a follow-up financing round led by Affentranger Associates, along with beteiligungsmanagement Thüringen. According to the company, this new round aims at a rapid ramp-up of its sales and marketing organization.

A molecular diagnostics company focused on life-threatening infections such as sepsis, one of the major causes of death in hospitals, SIRS-Lab obtained further funding to further commercialize its sepsis diagnostic suite, which includes its Vyoo and Siqnature products.

Vyoo is a pathogen-detection test that enables physicians to determine the causative agent of a deadly infection much earlier and more reliably than currently possible, the company said.