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Exonhit Buying InGen for $23.1M, Creating New Dx Firm Diaxonhit

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – French biotech firm Exonhit announced today an agreement to acquire InGen BioSciences for €18 million ($23.1 million), forming a new firm called Diaxonhit.

Exonhit will pay €8 million in cash as part of the deal, with the balance to be paid in Exonhit stock to shareholders of InGen. The deal is anticipated to close next month, pending approval by Exonhit shareholders.

Diaxonhit will be a fully integrated in vitro diagnostic company, "involved from research to commercialization of specialty diagnostic products," Exonhit said, adding that the new company will develop molecular diagnostics as well as more traditional tests in three specialty areas: immuno-infection, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer.

InGen's strong hospital presence and partnerships will provide Diaxonhit an extensive distribution network for products developed in house as well as those by partners. Additionally, the merging of the two companies will result in increased financial strength, Exonhit said. On a pro forma basis, it and InGen would have had total revenues of €28.4 million at the end of 2011.

"With the strengthening of its sales and its visibility in the market, Diaxonhit will acquire a greater investment capacity that will enable implementation of its strategy of growth and development," Exonhit said in a statement.

Headquartered in Chilly-Mazarin, France, InGen distributes in vitro diagnostics to the French market and has 65 employees. InGen is the French market leader in the distribution of human leukocyte antigen tests, Exonhit said. The tests are distributed for One Lambda, which Thermo Fisher acquired in late summer.

The company also distributes immunoassay tests for European and US partners as well as its own test for evaluating patient protection against tetanus. It also services "a large base" of diagnostic equipment, especially those from Luminex.

In 2011 InGen recorded revenues of €23.3 million, with the distribution of HLA tests comprising 71 percent of total sales, Exonhit said.

Exonhit bills itself as a personalized medicine firm developing both diagnostics and therapeutics. Its lead technologies are SpliceArray and DATAS. The SpliceArray is a microarray product for determining the expression of individual alternatively spliced transcripts.

DATAS is a method for "identifying all the functionally distinct messenger RNA variants differentially expressed between any two biologic samples (healthy vs. diseased or cell lines treated by a compound) on a genome-wide basis," according to Exonhit's website.

In order to fund the cash portion of the purchase of InGen, Exonhit said it will offer a private placement with institutional investors for €6 million. The remaining €2 million will come from the company's existing cash.

Exonhit said it has also reached an agreement with Société Générale for a line of equity for a maximum of €6 million.

"Through this transaction, the magnitude of our business will change significantly, a key step for both our companies, all of our employees, and our shareholders," Loïc Maurel, President and CEO of Exonhit, said in a statement. "InGen’s distribution network is a tremendous asset for the commercialization of our new diagnostic products, such as AclarusDx in Alzheimer's disease.

"Today, with this union we will become a fully integrated player in the field of in vitro diagnostics in France and will have a stronger financial capacity enabling us to better serve our ambition for growth," he continued.