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Oxford Immunotec to Acquire Imugen for $22.2M, Enter Tick-Borne Disease Market

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Oxford Immunotec has agreed to acquire substantially all of Imugen's assets in a transaction worth $22.2 million in cash.

The purchase price represents approximately twice Imugen's calendar-year 2015 revenues. Oxford expects to close the deal on July 1.

The firm said Imugen's business fits well with its strategy to focus on immune-regulated conditions, including tick-borne disease that develops into chronic infections when untreated, and affects weakened immune systems. Imugen operates a CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited laboratory in the suburbs of Boston, and employs 50 people.

In a conference call with analysts, Oxford added that Imugen has been a founder-led company since it was established in 1989 by former employees of Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory, after the state requested that the employees develop tests for Lyme disease when the disease was first discovered.

"Imugen has proprietary techniques that track the evolution of the immune system's response to Lyme disease and its interplay with the pathogen," Oxford CEO Peter Wrighton-Smith said during the call. "The firm's immunological understanding enables it to better assist with the diagnosis of acute infections and assess the stage of the disease."

Imugen's PCR tests detect the presence or absence of causative organisms of not only Lyme disease, but also babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis. The company provides enzyme immunoassays and western immunoblot — an enzyme-linked immunoelectrotransfer blot technique — for Lyme antibody analysis; an immunofluorescence test that uses fluorescent dyes to identify the presence of antibodies bound to specific antigens as part of its B. microti serology testing; and a microagglutination test used to determine the presence of antibodies in which F. tularensis antigen-coated latex particles are added to serial dilutions of a patient sample.

The deal allows Oxford — which is focused on developing and commercializing proprietary tests for the management of immune-regulated conditions — to expand into new markets. The company will now be able to enter the tick-borne disease market, increasing its total addressable market by $400 million to $500 million.

Imugen's business also has a high degree of call point overlap with Oxford’s TB business, Oxford said in a statement. Oxford will combine its own existing sales and marketing infrastructure with Imugen's facilities to increase its test capacity for its TB test.

Oxford added that Imugen has been able to achieve consistent profitability and revenue growth, including 10 percent growth in 2015. 

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