A Medical Device Daily

Fisher Scientific International (Hampton, New Hampshire) yesterday reported two deals that it said will “significantly enhance“ its capabilities in molecular diagnostics.

Fisher has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Athena Diagnostics (Worcester, Massachusetts), a developer of molecular diagnostic and immunodiagnostic tests and services, from Behrman Capital for $283 million in cash. Athena has a portfolio of neurologic, nephrologic and endocrine diagnostic tests targeting such diseases as neurogenetic and neuromuscular disorders, as well as Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, obesity, kidney disease and diabetes. The company had 2005 net revenues of $55 million.

“The acquisition of Athena Diagnostics is consistent with our strategy to expand our offering of high-value, high-margin products and services in growing markets,“ said Paul Montrone, chairman and CEO of Fisher. “Building on our extensive suite of life-science and diagnostic products, Athena provides Fisher with a deep portfolio of genetic and other markers as well as tests to identify those markers.“

The company said the Athena buy will make it a technology leader in providing personalized, gene-based tests and sophisticated tools and services for molecular biology. Fisher will fund the acquisition with cash-on-hand. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close early in 2Q06. Fisher said it expects the acquisitions will have no effect on its 2006 earnings per share and will be slightly accretive to cash earnings per share.

Simultaneous with its acquisition of Athena, Fisher said it also has entered into an agreement to purchase 9% of Nanogen (San Diego) for $15 million in cash.

Nanogen is a provider of advanced molecular diagnostic equipment, microarrays and reagents for diagnostic applications. Fisher and Nanogen will collaborate to expand the use of Athena's markers and tests.

Howard Birndorf, CEO and chairman of Nanogen, said that Fisher “shares our vision of developing diagnostic technologies and products for personalized medicine. This is yet another indication that molecular diagnostics for personalized healthcare is gaining momentum and being adopted by mainstream diagnostic laboratories.“

In other dealmaking news:

. InSight Health (Lake Forest, California), a national provider of diagnostic imaging services, reported the completion of its acquisition of East Bay Medical Imaging (EBMI; San Ramon, California).

EBMI specializes in the provision of diagnostic imaging services, specifically MRI.

In connection with the acquisition, InSight has partnered with radiologists Geoffrey Riley, MD, and Hank Chen, MD. Riley and Chen will serve as radiologists for the EBMI center. Additionally, they will also serve as radiologists for InSight's Advanced MRI of Pleasanton (Pleasanton, California) center, effective June 1.

InSight operates eight additional imaging centers in Northern California, including centers in Fremont, Hayward, Los Gatos, Redwood City, Sacramento and San Francisco.

The East Bay Medical Imaging center services patients in several communities throughout the East Bay including: San Ramon, Danville, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Concord, Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin.

. American Esoteric Laboratories (AEL; Memphis, Tennessee), a provider of esoteric and other clinical reference laboratory services, reported acquiring Physicians Medical Laboratory (Morristown, Tennessee). Terms were not disclosed.

With its expansion into the Nashville market, AEL said it will further expand into Eastern Tennessee and the surrounding areas.

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