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"Until recently, in vitro diagnostics were priced nearly at commodity levels and were relegated to the backwaters of the life science universe," Soren Peterson, Vivek Mittal, and Kristen Pothier write this month in In Vivo.

Lately, though, that's changed, says the trio, made up of a senior analyst, VP, and partner, respectively, of life sciences strategy consulting firm Health Advances.

With the emergence in recent years of high clinical value molecular diagnostics, they write, developers of such tests have become attractive acquisition targets with traditional clinical and laboratory firms like Quest Diagnostics and Beckman Coulter now competing with nontraditional buyers such as pharma firms, life science tool companies, and diversified conglomerates that have entered the sector.

In fact, they write, deals between diagnostics firms and such nontraditional buyers have grown from 33 percent of molecular diagnostic M&A in 2007-2008 to 63 percent in 2011-2012.

Among the Dx firms the authors think are currently primed for acquisition? BG Medicine, Biodesix, CardioDx, and a number of other names no doubt familiar to GenomeWeb readers.