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Epoch Shares Climb Nearly 10 Percent, Buoyed By Nanogen Patent News

NEW YORK, Dec. 1 (GenomeWeb News) - Shares in Epoch Biosciences were up 9.7 percent at $2.37 in mid-afternoon trading, buoyed by a recent patent announcement by corporate suitor Nanogen.


The stock has climbed more than 17 percent since Nov. 29, when Nanogen said its SynX subsidiary won a European patent. The patent, called "Method for Diagnosing and Distinguishing Stroke," covers a "diagnostic kit and method of measuring the presence of both an ischemic marker and a brain endothelial cell membrane protein to indicate that a patient has suffered a stroke."


Shares in Nanogen, which is set to acquire Epoch for around $60 million, were up almost 11 percent at $4.98 in mid-afternoon trading. Nanogen stock has been up more than 25 percent since Nov. 29.


As GenomeWeb News reported in September, Nanogen said it would acquire Epoch in an all-stock transaction. Under the terms of the agreement, Nanogen has agreed to an offer price of $2 per Epoch share, which is a 30 percent premium over the average closing price of Epoch's shares for the 20 trading days ended Sept. 1, the companies said.


Epoch shareholders will receive a number of Nanogen shares based on an exchange ratio determined by dividing the offer price by Nanogen's issue price as calculated at closing.


The directors of both companies have signed an agreement to vote in favor of the transaction, which, subject to approval by stockholders is expected to close by the end of this year.


Nanogen and Epoch have several complementary products in the molecular diagnostics field, the companies said. Specifically, Epoch's MGB Eclipse Probe System, including recently launched analyte-specific detection reagents, complement Nanogen's NanoChip molecular biology workstation. Both products are used for analyzing gene expression in vitro, detecting SNPs and mutations, and identifying infectious organisms, the companies said.


Nanogen said at the time that it intends to retain Epoch's R&D capabilities and reagent manufacturing operations in Bothell, Wash.Administration, marketing, and sales will be merged into Nanogen's San Diegoheadquarters.


Seven Hills Partners acted as financial advisor to Nanogen in the transaction, while Molecular Securities advised Epoch on the deal.