A Medical Device Daily

Beckman Coulter (Fullerton, California) has agreed to acquire all of the stock of Agencourt Bioscience (Beverly, Massachusetts), a provider of genomic services and nucleic acid purification products to the life sciences, for $100 million in cash and, potentially, an additional $40 million through 2007.

Beckman Coulter will obtain exclusive rights to Agencourt’s Solid Phase Reversible Immobilization (SPRI) technology, a magnetic bead nucleic acid purification system, as well as access to that company’s pharmacogenomic services.

Agencourt will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Beckman Coulter, with Agencourt management and a 100-person work force remaining in place.

The companies reported that they would be spinning off a separate entity, called Agencourt Personal Genomics, to accelerate the development of what they termed a “sequencing by synthesis” approach to personal genome sequencing.

Brian McKernan, CEO of Agencourt, said that Beckman Coulter offers a “strong position in the life sciences and clinical diagnostics markets,” enabling the company to “accelerate” its product and service offerings.

SPRI technology “has been adopted by several of the largest genome research facilities and used to sequence over one-third of the human genome,” Agencourt said.

Agencourt is one of five Large-Scale Sequencing Centers funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland). The centers have the goal of sequencing genomes of organisms of high biomedical importance.

In other dealmaking news:

Brachytherapy products specialist Theragenics (Buford, Georgia) reported that it plans to acquire CP Medical (Portland, Oregon), a manufacturer of sutures, cardiac pacing cables, brachytherapy needles/spacers and related medical products sold in the professional surgical and veterinary fields.

Theragenics will pay about $19.15 million in cash, using cash on hand, it said, and issue more than 1.88 million shares of stock valued at around $6.25 million, for a total consideration of some $25.4 million.

The addition of CP Medical provides Theragenics with “new growth platforms,” the company said, and will diversify its offerings as “a fully integrated manufacturer, supplier and distributor” of brachytherapy products.

M. Christine Jacobs, president, CEO and chairman of Theragenics, said that CP Medical “has demonstrated an impressive ability to identify underserved markets and rapidly develop products to address and grow revenues within those markets.” The two companies, she said, “share unique skill sets and have a history of successful innovation and execution within the complex medical device field.”

Theragenics said it expects the acquisition – subject to customary closing conditions – to be accretive to net income in 2005.

CP Medical’s core business is in wound closure, but it recently has expanded into additional medical devices.

Theragenics’ palladium-103 devices, TheraSeed and I-Seed, are used in the treatment of localized prostate cancer in one-time, minimally invasive procedures.

IRIS International (Chatsworth, California), a maker of automated IVD urinalysis systems, said it has signed an agreement to acquire the assets of the urinalysis business segment of Quidel (San Diego) for an undisclosed amount of cash.

IRIS President and CEO Cesar Garcia said that the acquisition gives IRIS “core technology and know-how in urine chemistry strips, patents and trademarks, product designs, a strip manufacturing facility in Germany and a semi-automated urine chemistry analyzer,” allowing the company to offer a broader product line internationally. He added that the product line being acquired is intended to fill specific market gaps and the new analyzer would not be offered to the domestic market, nor the Japanese market, where IRIS already has distribution pacts with its Japanese partner, Arkray.

IRIS said it will sell the UrinQuick Semi-Automated Urine Chemistry Analyzer and UrinChek test strips and related products internationally, targeting the physician’s office and hospital laboratory markets.

“Prior to the planned acquisition of this product line, IRIS did not have the option of offering a urine chemistry analyzer to its international distributors and a significant number of distributors could not participate in tenders where a complete urinalysis product line, both urine chemistry and urine microscopy was specified,” Garcia said. The target market consists of about 8,000 sites that perform semi-automated or automated urine chemistry strip testing and represent, he said, “a $250 million market opportunity and our previous participation was limited to our legacy systems.”

The acquired business generated about $1.5 million in sales in 2004 and complements IRIS International’s established iQ200 Automated Urine Microscopy Analyzer and related consumables.

The UrinQuick Urine Chemistry Analyzer, launched in July 2002, is a semi-automated benchtop instrument for the rapid analysis of UrinChek test strips. It analyzes the test strips by reflectance spectrophotometry, and test results are available in conventional screen display or printed format.

IRIS’ iQ200 Automated Urinalysis platform, using image flow cytometry, Automated Intelligent Microscopy technology and neural network-based particle recognition, is designed to reduce the costs and time involved in manual microscopic analysis.

• Pediatrix Medical Group (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), a provider of neonatal and maternal-fetal physician services, reported completing the purchase of a neonatal physician group practice in Tulsa, Oklahoma, providing Pediatrix care to babies representing 13,000 days in two neonatal intensive care units. Pediatrix said it paid cash for the practice, the amount undisclosed, and the transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to its earnings.

Pediatrix said it has completed the acquisition of seven physician group practices during 2005. Pediatrix’ neonatal physicians provide services at more than 220 NICUs, and through Obstetrix, its perinatal physicians provide services in many markets where Pediatrix’s neonatal physicians practice.