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Gen-Probe Tops Solvay Bid, Offers to Buy Innogenetics for $334M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Gen-Probe has made a bid to buy the Belgian molecular diagnostics company Innogenetics for €215 million ($334 million) in cash, or €6.10 a share, besting an April offer of €5.75 a share from drug maker Solvay.
The offer is roughly 4.3 times Innogenetics’ diagnostic revenues of approximately €51 million in 2007.
San Diego-based Gen-Probe said that Innogenetics would give it a strong manufacturing, marketing, and distribution presence in Europe, and that it would expand the company’s product range.
According to Gen-Probe, the combined company would offer nucleic acid and immunoassay tests for bacterial and viral infections, genetic conditions, neurological disorders, and transplant compatibility. The products Gen-Probe would gain include ones that are “generating revenue today or that we believe could be commercialized in the future," Gen-Probe CEO Hank Nordhoff said in a statement.
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. The HPV test was cleared by European regulatory authorities earlier this week.
Ghent-based Innogenetics also is restructuring and is closing its therapeutics subsidiary, GENimmune, to focus its efforts on the diagnostics market.
Gen-Probe said it has filed a draft takeover prospectus with Belgian financial authorities, and it hopes to close the deal in the fourth quarter of 2008.
The acquisition is subject to several conditions, including regulatory clearance and acceptance of at least 90 percent of Innogenetics’ outstanding shares, or 75 percent if the company introduces a new “one share, one vote” principle, Gen-Probe said.
Solvay has not yet made public a decision about whether it will try to match the bid.

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