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Osmetech Files for US IPO; Creates US Parent

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – British molecular diagnostics firm Osmetech has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of stock in the US under the name of its newly proposed parent, GenMark Diagnostics.

Osmetech, which makes microarray-based molecular diagnostic products, said that its board of directors has approved the proposal, which includes reorganizing the firm so that it becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of GenMark, based in Pasdadena, Calif. They also approved moving its shares from the AIM, on which it currently trades, to the Nasdaq Global Market, under which shareholders would receive one share of GenMark for every 230 shares of Osmetech held.

Osmetech said that it expects to raise approximately $40million through the fundraising. The firm said that it intends to use the proceeds from the offering to develop Osmetech's products, fund sales and marketing initiatives, and for general corporate purposes.

In a statement to the AIM exchange in London, Osmetech said that the decision to float in the US was made for several reasons. The firm said that it has seen a steady growth in US ownership of its stock, and US shareholders now own around 57 percent of the company. Osmetech also noted that its business activities are almost entirely based in the US, and more than 95 percent of its current sales and assets are located in the US.

"The Board considers there to be a potentially larger pool of investors in the US than the UK who are more familiar with the Osmetech Group's business and have a better understanding of the US molecular diagnostics industry," the firm said in its statement.

Osmetech has been commercializing products based on its eSensor technology, which can detect up to 72 distinct biomarkers in a single sample. Its XT-8 System, which supports up to 24 test cartridges, has marketing clearance in the US, as does two of its assays: a cystic fibrosis genotyping test and a warfarin sensitivity test.

Osmetech also has developed a respiratory viral panel test and a thrombosis risk test, which are currently labeled for investigational use only, but the firm intends to seek US Food and Drug Administration clearance for those tests. It also has a pipeline of eight potential products in development or design, it said, including a Plavix (clopidogrel) sensitivity test and a KRAS mutation test.

In addition to announcing its intentions to trade in the US, Osmetech today said that CFO David Sandilands is stepping down from his position. He is being replaced by Steven Kemper, who has served as SVP of finance for Osmetech technology, a subsidiary of the firm. Kemper also currently serves as president of Pacific Financial Consulting, a financial consulting firm.

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