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Gen-Probe, 3M End Collaboration to Develop Molecular Dx Tests

NEW York (GenomeWeb News) – Gen-Probe and 3M said after the close of the market on Monday that they have disbanded their collaboration to develop molecular diagnostic tests for healthcare-associated infections.
The firms had been evaluating whether they could combine Gen-Probe’s nucleic acid testing technologies with 3M’s microfluidics instrument platform but found the technologies to be technically incompatible.
San Diego-based Gen-Probe was responsible for assay development, which was funded by 3M. St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M also agreed to pay Gen-Probe milestones based on technical and commercial progress. The first of these milestone payments was made to Gen-Probe in the fourth quarter of 2007.
“We intend to evaluate the merits of developing molecular tests for HCAIs to run on our next-generation automated instruments,” Steve Kondor, Gen-Probe’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, said in a statement.
Gen-Probe said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday that based on the termination of the pact it expects to report $2.7 million of previously deferred revenue during the second quarter. In addition, the firm said that for fiscal 2009 the absence of reimbursement from 3M would cut its collaborative research revenues by roughly $4 million.

Gen-Probe, which is mostly known for its molecular blood-screening tests, has recently been looking for ways to expand its footprint in the molecular diagnostics market. In addition to the collaboration with 3M, the firm recently took a non-exclusive license to Xceed Molecular’s Flow-Thru Chip technology for use in developing next-generation multiplexed molecular diagnostic products.

Two weeks ago, the firm also lodged a counter-bid to Solvay’s offer to acquire Belgian molecular diagnostics company Innogenetics. Gen-Probe is offering to pay €215 million ($334 million) in cash, or €6.10 a share, which would best an April offer of €5.75 a share from drug maker Solvay.
Innogenetics’ main offerings include CE-marked genotyping assays for infectious diseases, including hepatitis C and B, and human papillomavirus, and it holds a PCR license from Roche and a license for Luminex’s xMAP multiplex technology.

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