A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

bioMérieux (Marcy L'Etoile, France), a maker of in vitro diagnostics, has agreed to acquire the privately held AB Biodisk (Stockholm, Sweden), an in vitro diagnostics company with facilities for R&D, manufacturing and marketing. This is bioMérieux's fourth acquisition in less than two years, the company noted.

Founded more than 40 years ago, following research by Hans Ericsson, professor of microbiology at the Karolinska Institute, AB Biodisk is internationally recognized for its antimicrobial resistance testing range and particular expertise in susceptibility testing of fastidious and unusual organisms, according to bioMérieux.

The company's leading product line, Etest, is used to determine the exact Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) of antibiotics, antifungal agents and antimycobacterial agents. Particularly rapid and easy to use, it has become a reference in microbiology laboratories, with over 100 antibiotics available in the range.

The AB Biodisk product portfolio complements bioMérieux's culture media and automated VITEK range for antibiotic susceptibility testing, the company said. The addition of the Etest will bring patients and customers a high-medical-value test result for critical infections and critical patient treatment, where a precise MIC valuation is needed. The AB Biodisk product range will also be an asset for use in pharmaceutical companies' new drug development, boosting bioMérieux's theranostics business.

bioMérieux bought BTF Precise Microbiology (Sydney, Australia) last fall, about a year after it acquired microbiology firm Bacterial Barcodes (Athens, Georgia). In April 2007 the company acquired the Spanish firm Biomedics (Madrid, Spain), a specialist in the production of culture media.

AB Biodisk has 53 employees. Its 2007 sales totaled more than €13 million and it is "very profitable," according to bioMérieux. AB Biodisk products are mainly sold through distributors, with the exception of Sweden and the U.S. where sales are direct. bioMérieux will sell the company's products under the bioMérieux brand through its global network in 150 countries, expanding its international footprint.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

bioMérieux provides diagnostic solutions (reagents, instruments, software) which determine the source of disease and contamination to improve patient health and ensure consumer safety. Its products are used for diagnosing infectious diseases and providing high medical value results for cardiovascular emergencies and cancer screening and monitoring. They are also used for detecting microorganisms in agri-food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.

In other dealmaking news:

• Johnson & Johnson Nordic (Sollentuna, Sweden), a Johnson & Johnson (J&J; New Brunswick, New Jersey) company, reported the acquisition of Amic, a privately held Swedish developer of in vitro diagnostic technologies for use in point-of-care (POC) and other near-patient settings.

The acquisition will provide Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics (Rochester, New York), also a J&J company, with access to a high-performance technology platform — currently in development in this rapidly growing area of diagnostics — that complements its clinical laboratory, immunohematology and donor screening businesses.

As a result of the acquisition, J&J expects to incur an estimated one-time after-tax charge of approximately $40 million during the 2Q08 related to the expensing of in-process R&D. Other terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Amic is developing technology that uses a chip-based micro-fluidic platform to enable fully quantitative, immunoassay tests in POC or near-patient settings. This next-generation technology represents an advance in an area of diagnostics where double-digit market growth is anticipated.

• InSight Health Services Holdings Corp. (Lake Forest, California) reported that a wholly owned subsidiary completed the sale to RadNet Management (Los Angeles) of its final diagnostic imaging center located in the San Fernando Valley area of Southern California.

Kip Hallman, InSight's president/CEO, said, "With the sale of this final center, we have now exited the San Fernando Valley, which was a non-core market for us. We are pleased to be able to focus our efforts going forward on the execution of other non-core market transactions and on our opportunities to reinvest in our chosen core markets."

InSight is a nationwide provider of diagnostic imaging services.

RadNet is a developer of cost-effective diagnostic imaging services through a network of 160 fully owned and operated outpatient imaging centers.

• Applera (Norwalk, Connecticut) reported that the registration statement relating to the proposed separation of its Celera (Rockville, Maryland) business has been declared effective by the SEC, with the separation expected to be completed at 12:01 a.m. EDT, on July 1, subject to satisfaction of certain conditions, including receipt of certain consents and listing of the Celera common stock on the Nasdaq stock market.

As previously described, the separation will be accomplished by means of redemption of all of the outstanding shares of Applera - Celera Group tracking stock. In the redemption, each outstanding share of Celera Group tracking stock will be redeemed in exchange for one share of common stock of Celera Corp., presently a wholly owned subsidiary of Applera. The Celera Corp. shares distributed in the redemption of the Celera Group tracking stock will constitute all of Celera's outstanding common stock.