Medical Device Daily

Immunicon (Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday and agreed to sell most of its assets to Veridex (Raritan, New Jersey), a Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick, New Jersey) unit, for $31 million, the companies said.

Immunicon sought protection from creditors with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. It said it has $9.2 million of assets and $24.3 million of debts, according to the filing.

The assets to be bought include intellectual property, product inventory and clinical data, and technologies related to Immunicon's CellSearch cancer test, the companies said.

In March, Immunicon lost an arbitration ruling in which it alleged that Veridex did not devote "best efforts" to market CellSearch. The companies have been partners for various products since 2000.

Following the decision, Immunicon said it would cut 40% of its full-time staff. In April, the company said it had retained Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. to advise on strategic alternatives including a possible sale.

Immunicon said net proceeds from the asset sale will first be used to pay creditors and any remaining proceeds will be distributed to stockholders of the company on a pro rata basis.

"This agreement represents a strategic opportunity for Veridex to continue to bring innovative diagnostic tests to the patients, physicians and laboratories involved in the fight against cancer," said Ken Berlin, that company's general manager.

The deal is subject to approval by the bankruptcy court and is not expected to require anti-trust review or shareholder approval, Veridex said.

Just days after reporting that it was considering strategic alternatives including the company's possible sale after receiving interest from several unnamed third parties (Medical Device Daily, June 9, 2008), Datascope (Montvale, New Jersey) disclosed that it is acquiring the Sorin Group's (Milan, Italy) Peripheral Vascular Stent business for an undisclosed sum.

Datascope said the acquisition is a result of its successful experience as exclusive distributor of the Sorin peripheral stent product line in Europe, in which sales have grown rapidly since the product launch in January 2007. In 4Q08, sales are expected to rise 27% above last year to an annualized level of $6.6 million.

With the acquisition, Datascope said it gains the opportunity to market the product line throughout the world. Datascope estimates the worldwide market at $800 million annually, of which $200 million is in Europe, $500 million in the U.S. and $40 million in Japan.

The acquisition appears to fly in the face of Datascope's earlier report that it was considering a sale, although the Sorin acquisition might increase the number of suitors for the company.

On Monday, Datascope said it was approached by several third parties that were considering making a bid for the company after the $202 million sale of its patient monitoring business to Mindray Medical International (Shenzhen, China), which was disclosed in March.

At that time, the company said that while its board had not yet made a decision whether or not to sell itself, it had authorized Lehman Brothers to begin discussions with those interested parties.

The sale comes as part of the Sorin Group's previously disclosed plan to divest its non-core assets in order to better focus on its strategic businesses, Cardiopulmonary, Heart Valves and CRM.

Sorin's peripheral stent products are dedicated to the treatment of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and use the company's Carbofilm technology. Datascope also has received exclusive, worldwide rights to the Carbofilm technology within the endovascular field as part of the deal.

The product line includes balloon-expandable and self-expanding stent systems principally for use in the treatment of the iliac arteries, renal arteries and infrapopliteal lesions, as well as balloon systems for use in percutaneous transluminal angioplasty.

"We are delighted to have found a strategic partner for this business as capable as Datascope of continuing, and expanding, the technological leadership and awareness in the interventional field. Datascope's sales and marketing acumen, combined with Sorin's technological and intellectual property platform is a winning combination for this business," said Andre-Michel Ballester, Sorin Group CEO.

"We believe that Sorin's peripheral vascular stents will be an attractive addition to our product portfolio," said Dr. Antonino Laudani, Datascope COO. "Peripheral vascular stents are in line with our strategic objectives to play a main role in the vascular and endovascular market."

In other dealmaking news:

• PSS World Medical (Jacksonville, Florida) reported that it has acquired Cascade Medical Supply, a Washington State-based distributor of Medicare Part B- and Medicaid-covered supplies to both skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in the Pacific Northwest.

PSS said the acquisition will expand regional coverage of the company's billing services, leveraging its existing ProClaim Part B business and expanding its sales and marketing reach for medical supplies and equipment to the elder care market in the Pacific Northwest. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

PSS is a national distributor of medical products to physicians and elder-care providers

• Orion Genomics (St. Louis) reported that the company entered into a worldwide exclusive license agreement with Johns Hopkins University (JHU; Baltimore) to commercialize products that identify patients at risk for colorectal cancer.

The license is based on a suite of issued and pending JHU patents covering imprinting abnormalities of the insulin-like growth factor 2 gene (IGF2). Orion's simple blood-based risk assessment test is being designed to identify people who carry the IGF2 biomarker and may be at increased risk of developing sporadic colorectal cancer. It is expected that the test will enable at-risk patients to undergo screening for colorectal cancer significantly earlier, allowing physicians to remove precancerous polyps and prevent future colon cancer.

"Our colorectal cancer risk test has the potential to save lives by identifying a group of high risk individuals who are likely to develop colorectal cancer at a younger age, and who should undergo colonoscopy screening 10 to 20 years earlier than the age that is currently recommended," said Nathan Lakey, president/CEO of Orion Genomics.