Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, Illinois) has completed its acquisition of the cardiovascular stent business of Biocompatibles International (Farnham, UK) for $234.5 million in cash. "The acquisition of Biocompatibles' cardiovascular stent business significantly strengthens Abbott's participation in the worldwide coronary stent market," said Christopher Begley, senior vice president, hospital products, at Abbott. He said the deal enhanced Abbott's international presence and "secured access not only to Biocompatibles' broad range of stents, but also to its proprietary coating technology, which serves as a differentiating component of our coronary and drug-coated stent programs." The acquisition includes the worldwide marketing, manufacturing, development, distribution and license of intellectual property rights to the BiodivYsio coronary stent product line and the pipeline of drug-eluting coronary stents, together with the stent manufacturing plant in Galway, Ireland. The stent business will be integrated into Abbott's vascular devices business. Abbott also acquired additional commercial infrastructure and marketing presence in Europe and maintained access to Biocompatibles' polymer chemistry R&D organization, which will augment Abbott's drug-coated stent programs. Abbott also assumed worldwide commercial rights for all potential drug-coated stent products in Biocompatibles' pipeline.

Baxter International (Deerfield, Illinois) has completed its acquisition of Fusion Medical Technologies (Fremont, California) for about $157 million of Baxter common stock in a stock-for-stock merger. Baxter said it has begun the process of integrating Fusion and anticipates a seamless transition for customers and its approximately 100 employees. Baxter said that combining the businesses could accelerate the clinical adoption of both Baxter's Tisseel fibrin sealant and Fusion's FloSeal matrix hemostatic sealant, a combination of engineered collagen-derived particles and topical thrombin designed to control bleeding in a surgical setting. The FDA approved the sale of FloSeal in the U.S. in December 1999. Fusion currently markets the FloSeal products in surgical procedures, other than ophthalmic, as an adjunct to hemostasis when control of bleeding by ligature or conventional procedures is ineffective or impractical. Tisseel VH fibrin sealant, Baxter's principal biosurgery product, was one of the first fibrin sealants to receive FDA approval and is indicated for tissue sealing, as well as hemostasis in cardiopulmonary procedures. Baxter's BioScience business develops and produces biopharmaceuticals, vaccines and therapeutic solutions for biosurgery and tissue regeneration, including fibrin sealant and application devices.

Langer (Deer Park, New York) said it has signed a letter of intent to acquire Bi-Op, a Canadian company that makes foot and gait-related biomechanical products including custom-made prescription orthotic devices and pre-fabricated orthotic devices to health care professionals. Financial terms of the proposed deal were not disclosed. The closing of the transaction is subject to negotiation and execution of definitive acquisition and other agreements, satisfactory completion of due diligence and other customary conditions. A provider of orthotics and gait-related products sold to practitioners treating musculoskeletal disorders, Langer currently manufactures products for Canadian customers in its U.S. facilities.

Quest Diagnostics (Teterboro, New Jersey), the largest U.S. provider of diagnostic testing, information and services, has commenced its previously announced cash election exchange offer for all outstanding shares of Unilab (Tarzana, California) common stock in a deal valued at approximately $1.1 billion. The exchange offer is scheduled to expire on June 17. In exchange for each of their Unilab shares, Unilab stockholders may elect to receive $26.50 in cash or 0.3256 shares of Quest Diagnostics common stock. Each Unilab common share not tendered in the exchange offer will automatically be converted into 0.3256 shares of Quest Diagnostics common stock. The aggregate amount of cash payable to Unilab stockholders will be subject to proration if the stockholders of Unilab elect to receive cash with respect to more than 30% of the outstanding common stock of Unilab. Unilab has approximately 37.4 million shares of common stock outstanding on a fully diluted basis. If the stockholders of Unilab elect to receive cash for 30% of the outstanding common stock, and if all options are exercised, Quest would issue approximately 8.5 million shares and pay approximately $297 million in cash to stockholders of Unilab. Kelso Investment Associates VI and KEP VI, Unilab's largest stockholders and the holders of approximately 42% of its currently outstanding common stock, have agreed to tender all of their shares into the exchange offer.

TLC Laser Eye Centers (Mississauga, Ontario) said its merger with LaserVision Centers (St. Louis, Missouri) has become effective. The deal, worth approximately $106.4 million, was originally announced last August. LaserVision shareholders will receive 0.95 TLC common shares for each LaserVision share held prior to the completion of the merger. TLC shares began trading under the new name, TLC Vision Corp., on May 17. The stock symbols for TLC Vision Corp. will remain TLC on the TSX and TLCV on the Nasdaq National Market.

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