A Medical Device Daily

Sigma-Aldrich (St. Louis) reported that it has agreed to acquire the JRH Biosciences division (Lenexa, Kansas) of CSL Ltd. (Melbourne, Australia) for $370 million in cash.

JRH is a global supplier of cell culture and sera products to the biopharmaceutical industry, with 2004 sales of about $150 million, which it predicts to increase by an estimated 10% in 2005.

David Harvey, Sigma-Aldrich's chairman and CEO, said the purchase “enhances our overall position in the broad life science research market. With JRH's history of profitable sales growth, its addition is expected to help us meet or exceed our long-term growth and return goals.“

JRH has manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Europe and Australia, and serum collection and processing centers in the U.S. and Australia. Product lines include sera, cell culture media used in the production of therapeutic proteins, reagent growth factors and biological material containers. It has about 400 employees.

As much as 10 months of JRH's operating results will be added to Sigma-Aldrich's performance in 2005, it said, depending on the deal closing date. It is expected to be accretive to earnings after 2005, and to make a positive contribution to cash flow in 2005 and after.

Sigma-Aldrich said it would fund the purchase through a combination of existing cash, short-term debt and three-year term debt. Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as financial advisor to Sigma-Aldrich for the transaction.

Sigma-Aldrich manufactures biochemical and organic chemical products and kits used in scientific and genomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development, the diagnosis of disease and in chemical manufacturing.

In other dealmaking news:

Neoprobe (Dublin, Ohio), a developer of oncology and cardiovascular surgical and diagnostic products, reported forming a new company, CIRA Biosciences (CIRA Bio), to develop patient-specific cellular therapies which have shown positive responses in clinical settings.

Neoprobe markets the neo2000 line of gamma detection systems used by cancer surgeons for intraoperative lymphatic mapping. It also is in the process of commercializing the Quantix line of blood flow measurement products, used by cardiovascular surgeons, neurosurgeons and critical care physicians, developed by its Cardiosonix subsidiary.

CIRA Bio will combine Neoprobe's Activated Cellular Therapy (ACT) technology for oncology treatment with similar technology licensed from CIRA LLC for treating viral (HIV/AIDS and hepatitis) and autoimmune diseases. Following assessment of the technology, CIRA Bio said it intends to raise capital to support re-activation of development activities.

With formation of CIRA Bio, Neoprobe owns about 90% of its outstanding shares, the remaining shares held by the principals of CIRA LLC. With CIRA Bio's formation, an amended technology license agreement also was executed with the Ohio State University Research Foundation (Columbus, Ohio) from which both Neoprobe and CIRA LLC originally licensed or optioned the various cellular therapy technologies.

John Ridihalgh, PhD, has been appointed chief scientific officer and interim president and CEO of CIRA Bio. Ridihalgh said, “We are eager to advance this technology and bring it to benefit patients as it was intended. Phase I clinical trials completed in oncology, HIV/AIDS and chronic fatigue syndrome in the late 1990s have all shown patient benefit. The favorable responses achieved by these trials provide a strong foundation to move our technology toward commercialization.“

Neoprobe also holds interests in the RIGScan CR system, an investigational technology that combines the company's gamma detection device technology with a disease-specific radiolabeled cancer targeting agent, and a patented surgical method to obtain real-time information to locate tumor deposits that may not be detectable by conventional methods.

Advanced Global Industries (San Diego/Bellingham, Washington) said it has agreed to acquire the shares of Synova Healthcare (Media, Pennsylvania). The agreement calls for the issuance of 7 million shares of Advanced Global to the shareholders of Synova, subject to closing conditions. Advanced Global Industries will be renamed Synova Healthcare Group Inc.

Synova distributes non-invasive medical diagnostic tests for consumers and clinicians to determine onset of specific medical conditions.

Stephen King, CEO of Synova, said, “This development will allow Synova to gain access to capital markets so that we can continue to develop important new products, while effectively supporting our products that currently exist in the marketplace today.“

A team of cardiac service experts has launched eCardio Diagnostics (The Woodlands, Texas) to provide, it said, “comprehensive cardiac services, including cardiac event monitoring, digital holter monitoring and pacemaker follow-up.“

eCardio Diagnostics is a provider of non-invasive, portable cardiac event monitors that capture and record cardiac arrhythmias as they occur, while patients maintain normal lifestyles. eCardio also offers Web-based solutions that enable real-time patient enrollment and physician access to patient information whenever and wherever they need it.

The company's executive team consists of Larry Lawson, president and CEO; Paul Minardi, chief technology officer/chief information officer; and Robert Jordan, executive vice president.

Specialty Laboratories relocates HQ

Specialty Laboratories (Valencia, California), a hospital-focused clinical reference laboratory, reported the completion of its relocation to Valencia. Clinical testing referred to Specialty is now being performed at Specialty's new clinical laboratory and headquarters facility in Valencia, about 30 miles north of Specialty's former locations in Santa Monica, California. Specialty has ceased all operations in Santa Monica.

Specialty's new purpose-built facility of 198,000 square feet is nearly twice the size of its former configuration, significantly increasing available space for growth. Its new clinical laboratory incorporates advanced mechanical, structural and architectural features to support quality control, specimen management and optimized work flow.

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