A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

NightHawk Radiology Holdings (Coeur D'Alene, Idaho), a major provider of solutions to radiology groups across the U.S., reported the acquisition of Midwest Physician Services, the business services division of St. Paul Radiology (St. Paul, Minnesota).

NightHawk said that the acquisition now enables it to provide the broadest suite of integrated radiology solutions available: professional services, clinical workflow technology and now business services.

In the deal, NightHawk also acquired Emergency Radiology Services, the off-hours emergency teleradiology division of St. Paul Radiology.

NightHawk paid $62.5 million in cash for the acquisition of both companies, along with a warrant entitling St. Paul Radiology to purchase 300,000 shares of NightHawk stock.

The purchase was financed as part of a larger debt facility the company recently completed.

The new business unit, Business Services, will provide radiology group customers with revenue cycle management, facilities and human resources management, transcription, and other services required to operate a radiology practice.

St. Paul Radiology also signed an agreement for business services with NightHawk which will include the use of NightHawk's Talon clinical workflow technology.

St. Paul Radiology serves more than 40 hospitals and imaging centers, and NightHawk will receive a fee for the business services provided based on a percentage of St. Paul Radiology's revenue.

Dr. Paul Berger, CEO and chairman of NightHawk, said, "The business services operations we are acquiring are state-of-the-art, highly efficient, and led by a great team."

NightHawk said it will market its newly acquired services under the name NightHawk Business Services via cross-selling opportunities.

Tim Mayleben, executive VP and COO of NightHawk, said that the acquired business "presents minimal integration risks and will not involve any office or personnel relocations or management changes."

The new business services division is estimated to contribute $8 million-$9 million in revenue for the remainder of 2007. In 2008, the transaction is estimated to add $16 million to $18 million in revenue and 6 cents-7 cents in NightHawk's EPS.

In other dealmaking activity:

• SensiGen (Philadelphia), a development-stage biotechnology company developing gene-based diagnostics, reported acquiring an option from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) to exclusively license a set of epigenetic biomarkers for early detection and monitoring of Lupus. Terms of the licensing were not reported.

The technology includes a panel of biomarkers for epigenetic variations of genes associated with Lupus, along with related assays. SensiGen said it intends to develop diagnostics for these biomarkers using its AttoSense technology.

AttoSense was developed by Dr. Bruce Richardson, professor of medicine at the U. of Michigan and chief of rheumatology, Ann Arbor Veterans Hospital, and his colleagues.

SensiGen says that Richardson discovered that the levels of methylation of certain genes are associated with Lupus onset, and he developed biomarkers for identifying their presence.

Current methods for detection/monitoring of Lupus rely on old techniques for measuring elevated antibodies in the blood and for detecting the presence of proteins. But SensiGen said that the levels of antibodies and CAP's in the blood fluctuate significantly in response to factors unrelated to the disease, and so are unreliable.

Diagnostics developer Nanogen (San Diego) reported acquiring the rights to genetic markers related to schizophrenia and responses to antipsychotic therapies. The agreement is between Nanogen and the Co-operative Research Centre for Diagnostics and Queensland University of Technology (both Queensland). Terms were not disclosed.

Nanogen said it will use the markers to create diagnostic tests for schizophrenia and related conditions. Some of which also may help predict adverse drug reactions and guide therapeutic decision-making.

David Ludvigson, president/COO of Nanogen, said that for these disorders, "development of effective diagnostics and treatments is likely to require multiplexed analytic methods capable of examining multiple genes simultaneously."

Nanogen's NanoChip multiplexing platform recently was submitted for FDA 510(k) clearance, along with the company's cystic fibrosis carrier screening test.

The genetic component of schizophrenia is thought to account for 65%-80% of the disease risk. The markers acquired by Nanogen are in genes that have been linked to schizophrenia in a number of clinical studies.

Nanogen's products include the NanoChip electronic microarray platform and a line of point-of-care diagnostics.

Diagnostic firms Dade Behring (Deerfield, Illinois) and Roche Diagnostics (Indianapolis) reported granting DiaSorin (Stillwater, Minnesota/Berkshire, UK) certain rights for the development and manufacturing of immunoassays that can be used for the detection of HIV-1 group O. Deal terms were not disclosed.

HIV tests are used to screen patients and also blood donations for HIV infections.

Jim Reid-Anderson, president/CEO and chairman of Dade Behring, said that the agreement "enables us to share rights with another company and help them further provide better patient care that's accessible to health care providers worldwide."