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Meridian Bioscience Furthers Push into Molecular Biology with Bioline Buy

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Meridian Bioscience today said that it has acquired Bioline, a manufacturer and distributor of molecular biology reagents, for $23.3 million in cash on hand.

The acquisition pushes the Cincinnati-based diagnostics firm further into the molecular biology research products and molecular diagnostics fields. It also will provide products to complement the portfolio of its life science business.

London-based Bioline makes nucleotides, DNA polymerase enzymes, and other reagents used in PCR testing for DNA, RNA, and other genomic applications. The firm is expected to have 2010 revenues of more than $12 million. Meridian also noted that Bioline is profitable and is expected to be accretive to its earnings in late fiscal 2011.

"Bioline will provide a rapidly expanding portfolio of highly specialized molecular biology reagents that enable the development of genomic tests utilized by researchers, clinical diagnostic laboratories, diagnostic test manufacturers, and biotechnology companies," Richard Eberly, president of Meridian Life Science, said in a statement. He added that the deal will add "key global operations and direct sales capabilities in the UK, Germany, and Australia."

Meridian sells diagnostic test kits for gastrointestinal, respiratory, and viral infections. Last week, the firm received US Food and Drug Administration clearance for its first molecular diagnostic product, the illumigene C. difficile molecular amplification assay. It is based on Meridian's loop amplification technology, which is isothermal and requires no costly capital equipment, according to the firm.

In addition to the acquisition, Meridian reported today that its third-quarter revenues fell 11 percent year over year to $33.9 million from $38.2 million for the comparable quarter of 2009. Its net earnings declined 24 percent to $6.4 million, or $.16 per share, from $8.5 million, or $.21 per share.

Despite the quarterly results, Meridian CEO John Kraeutler said the firm accomplished key goals during the quarter including the illumigene test clearance, the Bioline acquisition, and an R&D collaboration with DiaSorin.

"Each of these actions are expected to accelerate the company's growth via innovation, product line expansion, and global expansion," said Kraeutler. "The illumigene launch and the acquisition of Bioline will have an immediate positive impact."

In early Tuesday trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Meridian were down 2 percent at $17.69.