By Kirell Lakhman
BioMérieux has shelled out $53.7 million with contingent payments of up to $7.2 million to acquire molecular-diagnostic maker ARGENE, which specializes in virology testing, especially for immunocompromised patients.
The buy is aimed at boosting BioMérieux's infectious-disease menu and enable it to "accelerate the time to market" of a broad test menu to be performed on a new molecular-diagnostic platform it is developing with Biocartis, BioMérieux CEO Jean-Luc Bélingard said.
Employing 70 people worldwide, France-based ARGENE generated $14.3 million in 2010, with molecular diagnostics representing 75 percent of its business with half of its total receipts coming from abroad.
By comparison, BioMérieux made around $2 billion in sales last year.
ARGENE's menu includes quantitative tests for cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, and herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2. These tests are currently available for use on most open real-time PCR platforms.
Headquartered in Verniolle, in southern France, the privately held, 20-year-old company distributes its products in Switzerland, Italy, and the US, so the acquisition will also give it a leg up. BioMérieux, also based in France, said it will adapt ARGENE's tests into the integrated molecular system it's developing with Biocartis.
Marcy l'Etoile-based BioMérieux said it expects to launch the system and accompanying assays worldwide in mid-2013.
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