A Medical Device Daily

Quest Diagnostics (Lyndhurst, New Jersey), a provider of diagnostic testing, information and services, reported that it has acquired HemoCue (Angelhom, Sweden), a company specializing in near patient testing, also known as point-of-care testing, from the private equity firm EQT II, for about $420 million in cash.

Quest said the acquisition will allow it to enter the growing point-of-care testing market and leverage HemoCue’s international presence to reach new markets worldwide. The company said it plans to link HemoCue’s handheld systems with its Care360 portal, which gives doctors access to lab and medication records, patient medical history and remote ordering of lab testing or prescriptions.

Quest said that the transaction, financed through a new credit facility, is not expected to have material impact on its 2007 financial results.

HemoCue has annual revenues of about $90 million and is a leading international provider in near patient testing for hemoglobin. It claims a growing share in professional glucose and microalbumin testing.

The company’s handheld systems are used in physicians’ offices, blood banks, hospitals, diabetes clinics, and public health clinics.

In developing countries these systems are used as the primary means to screen for anemia. The measurement of hemoglobin is important for patients being treated by transfusion, or undergoing dialysis or chemotherapy, where instant test results can lead to immediate treatment decisions.

Quest said that HemoCue has a strong product pipeline, based on the use of its patented microfluidic systems, and that it is currently developing new tests, including a near patient test to determine white blood cell counts. It is designed to help determine the presence of an infection and the need for antibiotic treatment, potentially reducing the overuse of antibiotics.

Quest said that the acquisition also complements its efforts in near patient testing for infectious disease and cancer, including new tests for colorectal cancer screening and herpes simplex virus type 2.

“Technology is enabling diagnostic testing to move closer to the patient, and the acquisition of HemoCue and its exciting product pipeline gives us a strong presence in this emerging market,” said Surya Mohapatra, PhD, CEO and chairman of Quest. “Linking near patient testing devices to our proprietary Care360 patient-centric physician portal can provide longitudinal test reporting on a patient regardless of how or where a test was performed. This will help doctors improve the way they diagnose, monitor and treat disease.”

Conor Medsystems (Menlo Park, California) reported that its stockholders approved the $1.4 billion merger with Johnson & Johnson (J&J; New Brunswick, New Jersey). The proposed all-cash transaction is expected to close within the next few days, subject to the satisfaction of the remaining closing conditions

The deal, first disclosed in November (Medical Device Daily, Nov. 20, 2006), entitles Conor stockholders to receive $33.50 for each share of their common stock.

Conor develops controlled vascular drug delivery technologies, primarily drug-eluting stents to treat coronary artery disease.

J&J, via its Cordis (Miami Lakes, Florida) unit, said the acquisition of Conor will provide it with a “new and unique” controlled drug delivery technology currently employed on Conor’s CoStar stent system, a paclitaxel-eluting cobalt chromium stent with a bioabsorbable polymer.

The CoStar is currently sold outside the U.S., and enrollment in its U.S. pivotal clinical trial has been completed, with the company expecting an approval in late 2007 or early 2008. It received its CE mark last February.

Conor also is developing a dual-drug DES called the SymBio. The SymBio, currently in a clinical trial called GENESIS, is a pimecrolimus/paclitaxel-eluting coronary stent system. Enrollment in that clinical trial, conducted in the Middle East and Europe, is expected to be completed early this year.

In other dealmaking news:

• Xtent (Menlo Park, California) reported that it has priced its initial public offering of 4.7 million shares of common stock at a $16.00 per share, on the low end of its previously disclosed $16-$18 range (Medical Device Daily, Feb. 1, 2007).

Xtent has granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 705,000 shares at the initial public offering price to cover any over-allotments, which values the offering at $86.48 million before expenses if all the shares are exercised.

The common stock will trade on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol XTNT.

Piper Jaffray & Co. is the bookrunning manager for the offering. Cowen and Co., Lazard Capital Markets and RBC Capital Markets are co-managers.

Xtent’s Custom NX DES systems are designed to enable the treatment of single lesions, long lesions and multiple lesions of varying lengths and diameters, in one or more arteries with a single device.

• Freedom Meditech (San Diego) and the University of Toledo (UT; Toledo, Ohio) reported an exclusive, royalty-bearing, worldwide license deal for the development of a patent-pending non-invasive ocular glucose measurement technology for use by people with diabetes.

The “consumer-ready” product will be the size of a pair of binoculars and will work by shining a light beam onto the eye (without touching the eye) to produce real-time glucose information, which is displayed on the device. The aim is to provide an alternative to the current fingerprick method of testing blood glucose and eliminate the pain and biohazard waste disposal aspects of current glucose measurement devices.

UT will provide Freedom Meditech with exclusive worldwide rights to the technology in exchange for financial consideration over time. The enabling technology is the product of more than 10 years of invention by Dr. Brent Cameron, professor of bioengineering at UT.

“The near-term prospect of a commercially available non-invasive glucose monitor will have a significant positive impact on the treatment of diabetes,” said Cameron. “Recent advances made with our enabling technology platform should bring this to fruition.”

Freedom Meditech initiated seed-stage financing activities in December 2006, with $100,000 of its planned $1.5 million in start-up capital already secured and funded and a $500,000 revolving line of credit in place. The company is now working to close out its initial angel financing and stage it for Series A venture financing.