DUBLIN, Ireland - Trinity Biotech plc has acquired a lipoprotein enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay from Strategic Diagnostics Inc., of Newark, Del., for application in the diagnosis and prediction of premature atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Trinity expects the transaction to be earnings accretive “more or less immediately,“ said Trinity's chief financial officer, Jonathan O'Connell.

Trinity has not issued any stock to fund the purchase, but is paying for the product on a phased basis.

The Wampole Laboratories division of New York-based Carter-Wallace Inc. will distribute the product in the U.S. O'Connell said he expects the test to yield annual sales in excess of US$1 million, which would make it one of the Dublin-based company's most important products.

“We do expect it to grow quite rapidly,“ he said. Strategic Diagnostics achieved 1997 sales of US$350,000 with the product in the research market. The assay, called Macra Lp(a), received FDA approval for clinical use in April.

This acquisition marks Trinity's first move into the cardiac arena. O'Connell said the company may pursue further opportunities in the area, but is not looking at any other prospects at this point.

Meanwhile, Trinity has entered discussions with Becton Dickinson and Co., of Franklin Lakes, N.J., following its recent filing of a complaint alleging patent infringement. Unilever plc, of London and Rotterdam, the Netherlands, also named in the suit, has not yet responded, O'Connell said. (See BioWorld International, Sept. 16, 1998, p.3.) - Cormac Sheridan