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Exiqon to Divest CLIA Lab; Seeks Partners

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Exiqon today said that it will divest its California-based CLIA lab, Oncotech, in an effort to "gain operational and infrastructural efficiencies and to free up human financial resources."

The Vedbaek, Denmark-based molecular diagnostics firm also said that as a consequence of the divestiture it would seek partners to co-develop and commercialize its miRNA-based diagnostic products.

Exiqon purchased Oncotech in November 2007, with the aim of accelerating the establishment of its diagnostics business. The firm said that while it has since strengthened its portfolio and launched new molecular tests, it has decided to consolidate its development efforts at its facilities in Denmark.

"This decision will help us focus on our core competencies in the area of miRNA and drive operational synergies between our two business areas, Diagnostics and Life Sciences," Exiqon President and CEO Lars Kongsbak said in a statement. "By consolidating operations, we can free up the necessary financial resources for a continued focus on our diagnostic product development efforts."

The company will recognize a non-cash loss on divestment and impairment of goodwill of around DKK 205 million ($49.2 million). As a result of the divestiture, Exiqon revised its 2009 revenue guidance down to DKK 80 million from DKK 130 million.

Exiqon expects the divestment to result in annual savings of approximately DKK 60 million compared to 2009. The firm maintained its long-term financial goal of reaching profitability by 2011.