A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Thermo Fisher Scientific (Waltham, Massachusetts) — the company recently formed from the merger of Thermo Electron and Fischer Scientific — is on the acquisition trail. Last Friday it reported acquiring Cohesive Technologies (Franklin, Massachusetts), a manufacturer of sample extraction and liquid chromatography products.

The value of the deal was not disclosed. Cohesive has annual revenues of about $15 million.

According to Thermo Fisher, the Cohesive product line enhances its Thermo Scientific-branded products by adding in-line sample preparation capabilities that couple with mass spectrometry to create end-to-end workflow solutions for drug and other organic molecule analyses.

It said these new capabilities "will significantly improve sample throughput and increase detection limits during LC/MS/MS analysis for customers in the pharmaceutical, clinical environmental and food science industries."

Luminex (Austin, Texas) reported that it has agreed to acquire Tm Bioscience (Toronto), a developer of commercial genetic tests.

Each Tm Bioscience share will be exchanged for 0.06 shares of Luminex common stock. The per-share consideration represents a 41.5% premium for Tm shares, based on the closing price of a share of Tm common stock and Luminex common stock on Dec. 14, the last trading day prior to the announcement of the acquisition.

With deal close, Tm shareholders will own about 9% of Luminex outstanding common stock. Completion of the transaction, expected in 1Q07, requires the approval of Tm shareholders and other customary approvals.

Tm's products include tests for infectious diseases as well as tests for genetic mutations related to cystic fibrosis, sepsis, personalized medicine and other debilitating genetic disorders.

"As we continue to support our partners in Life Science research and Immunoassay/HLA, molecular diagnostics will be an important growth market for Luminex," said Patrick Balthrop, president/CEO of Luminex. "We believe this business combination will allow us to accelerate our growth strategy and build shareholder value."

Greg Hines, president/CEO of Tm, said, "After examining all of the options available to the company, we determined that the acquisition . . . was in the best interest of shareholders. During the six years that Luminex and Tm have worked together, we have become convinced that DNA-based diagnostics based on Tm's Universal Array and Luminex's xMAP can establish Luminex as a leader in the fast growing molecular diagnostics market."

J.P. Morgan Securities was financial advisor to Luminex. Leerink Swann & Co. acted as financial advisor to Tm, and Westwind Partners advised Tm with respect to financing.

In other dealmaking news:

• Datasul (Joinville, Brazil), a company that offers software integrated solutions to corporate clients, reported the acquisition of Informenge, a management software solutions provider for healthcare, such as healthcare insurance companies, hospitals, medical offices, laboratories, diagnostic imaging centers and pharmacies.

In the last 12 months, Informenge has attained about R$5 million in gross revenues. It also has a current portfolio of clients composed of more than 50 companies and 100 active accounts. The value of the acquisition of 100% of its shares will be funded by Datasul's cash position and will amount to five times the value of the adjusted EBITDA of Informenge for the current exercise ending Dec. 31, as per contractual terms.

According to Jorge Steffens, Datasul's CEO, "Since we are aiming at complementary offerings, the Informenge solutions will evolve and the company will become a Datasul business unit. We are acquiring a company that complements our current offering to the health industry and strengthens our market footprint."

• Quidel (San Diego) reported a worldwide license to the MChip microarray-based influenza detection technology developed by scientists at the University of Colorado (Denver) in close collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta).

Quidel's intent is to develop and market molecular-based diagnostic tests featuring the MChip for use in pandemic surveillance, as a tool for the clinical laboratory and at the point-of-care in the physician office laboratory.

The MChip offers several advantages over current molecular-based arrays for the detection of influenza viruses, the company said, including the recently disclosed FluChip developed by the same research team at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the CDC. While the majority of molecular-based arrays use sequences from three influenza genes — hemagglutinin (HA), neuraminidase (NA) and matrix (M) — the MChip exclusively exploits sequences from the matrix genes.

Unlike HA and NA, which mutate constantly, the M gene segment is more conserved. A diagnostic test based on this relatively stable gene segment should be more robust because it will continue to provide accurate results even as the HA and NA genes mutate and will require less frequent reconfiguration. In addition, current molecular tests provide only information about the type of virus present in a single sample (i.e., Influenza type A or Influenza type B). The MChip offers the advantage of simultaneously typing and subtyping the flu virus in a single procedure (for example, Influenza type A, subtype H5N1), avoiding the need for additional subtyping of the virus.

According to the company, the MChip has been validated in collaboration with the CDC by testing H5N1 samples collected over a three-year period from people and animals around the world and to date has correctly identified 24 different H5N1 flu strains at 97% sensitivity and 100% specificity, with no reported false positives.

No Comments