A Medical Device Daily

AmeriPath (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida), a provider of anatomic pathology, dermatopathology and molecular diagnostics, and Specialty Laboratories (Valencia, California), a hospital-focused clinical reference laboratory, reported completion of their merger.

When originally unveiled in late September, the deal, through purchase of all Specialty Lab stock by AmeriPath, was valued at about $314 million (Medical Device Daily, Oct. 3, 2005). AmeriPath acquired all of the common shares of Specialty that were outstanding at closing for $13.25 a share.

Prior to the merger, Specialty Family Limited Partnership, Specialty's majority shareholder, and related parties contributed shares of Specialty for shares representing about 20% of the fully diluted share capital of the combined company.

Donald Steen, CEO and chairman of AmeriPath, said, “Our complementary areas of expertise and service offerings will allow us to build on both companies' leadership positions, provide access to each other's medical and scientific expertise, expand our geographic presence to better serve our customers, and become the most valued company in our industry.”

He said: “The bi-coastal laboratories of AmeriPath and Specialty will retain their individual corporate identities and names but afford us an expanded local presence. We are already beginning, however, to transfer technology, leverage our shared expertise and offer our combined services, to more completely and effectively meet growing and more sophisticated customer needs.”

R. Keith Laughman, who joined AmeriPath in April 2005 as president of Esoteric Services, will be president of Specialty.

AmeriPath said it also is using strategic relationships to expand its efforts in genetic-based assays.

One of these involves Molecular Profiling Institute (MPI, Phoenix), associated with Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen; also Phoenix). TGen is a non-profit biomedical research organization, formed by team members of the Human Genome Project, which came together to apply findings from the project to personalized medicine.

Jeffrey Mossler, MD, vice chairman of AmeriPath, said, “The new organization will offer comprehensive anatomic pathology, advanced clinical laboratory testing and services, and, with MPI and TGen, novel molecular and diagnostics that apply the genome map to patient care, a combination which not only strengthens our company and prepares us for the future, but also helps our referring physicians provide more effective and improved patient care.”

In other dealmaking activity:

Healthcare information technology company Misys Healthcare Systems (Raleigh, North Carolina) reported acquiring Payerpath (Richmond, Virginia), a private company that provides Internet-based solutions for processing health claims, for $49 million in cash. Other financial details were not disclosed.

Misys said it will combine Payerpath's operations – processing about 50 million claims a year – with its own electronic transactions clearinghouse, M. Transaction Services, which processes more than 420 million electronic transactions a year. The business will operate as Payerpath, a Misys company, and will be headquartered in Richmond.

Tom Skelton, CEO of Misys, said that Payerpath “has been successful doing this with quality solutions that focus on each step of the reimbursement cycle – providing physician practices, hospitals and payers with a high level of user functionality, revenue cycle management features and adaptability.”

Founded in 1979, Misys serves the international healthcare and banking industries; in healthcare, it reports serving more than 92,000 physicians in 18,000 practice locations, 1,250 hospitals and 600 home care providers.

• Cedara Software (Toronto), a business of Merge Healthcare (Milwaukee) and an independent developer of medical software technologies for the global healthcare market, said it has acquired assets of a medical software company, Axicare (Paris), via court liquidation. With the purchase, Cedara acquires aXigate, a solution for healthcare data and workflow management.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

aXigate, Cedara said, provides a “single comprehensive patient record that can connect and manage data and medical images from existing information systems. It is a web-based solution for patient, medical and clinical process management,” employing open architecture, XML, Java and AJAX to incorporate information from the divergent areas of labs, radiology and the pharmacy into the hospital database. Clinical content can then be stored and accessed to offer a comprehensive portrait of medical images, diagnosis and test results.

In the past three years, aXigate was installed in more than 25 healthcare facilities in France, including private clinics, care networks and several large public institutions, among them the University Hospital of Besancon.

Jacques Cornet, vice president of business development and strategic marketing at Cedara, said, “[T]his strategic technology acquisition aligns with our overall strategy at Merge Healthcare to combine our core medical imaging technologies with clinical information systems to expand our business into new markets and clinical specialties beyond radiology.”