Microprobe Corp., a privately held biomedical company based inBothell, Wash., has acquired Source Scientific Systems Inc., amanufacturer of automated medical diagnostic equipment,from Quixote Corp.

The merged companies will operate under the MicroProbe name,with the headquarters relocated to Source's Garden Grove,Calif., location. Research and development will continue at theBothell facility.

As part of the agreement, Quixote and Microprobe's principalinvestors, led by Olympic Venture Partners of Seattle,invested additional capital in MicroProbe. Quixote, based inChicago, received shares of preferred stock that will converton a 1-for-1 basis at the time of an initial public offering inexchange for its investment and cancellation of a debt, givingQuixote a 40 percent interest in MicroProbe.

The merger will allow MicroProbe to complete developmentand seek marketing approval for its automated in-office DNAprobe-based systems that detect bacteria associated withperiodontitis and vaginitis, according to John Bishop,MicroProbe's chief executive officer.

MicroProbe estimates the world market for these DNA probe-based products at $670 million.

MicroProbe also is in the early stages of developingtherapeutic applications of its DNA technology using antigeneoligonucleotides that are expected to be used to treat certaininfectious diseases and cancers. In contrast to antisensetechnology, which targets messenger RNA, antigene technologytargets the gene itself, "which totally inactivates theexpression of the gene, so you have a permanent cure," Bishopsaid.

-- Kris Herbst BioWorld Washington Bureau

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.