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Opko Health to Buy Bio-Reference Labs for $1.47B

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Opko Health and Bio-Reference Laboratories today announced a definitive merger agreement valued at about $1.47 billion. 

Under the terms of the deal, each Bio-Reference shareholder will receive 2.75 shares of Opko's common stock for each share of Bio-Reference stock. Based on Opko's closing price of $19.12 per share on June 3, the transaction is estimated to be worth $52.58 per share of Bio-Reference's common stock, the firms said. 

The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of 2015. The two firms' boards of directors have approved the deal. 

Based in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, Bio-Reference is the third-largest full-service clinical laboratory in the US. In its Fiscal Year 2014, ended Oct. 31, 2014, it had total revenues of $832.3 million and a profit of $46.8 million, or $1.68 per share.

For its fiscal 2015 first quarter ended Jan. 31, the company posted revenues of $181.3 million and a profit of $6.6 million, or $.24 per share.

Through its GeneDx genetic sequencing laboratory and its GenPath Diagnostics oncology and women's health business unit, Bio-Reference has accumulated a significant amount of genetic and genomic data that Opko will make available to industry and academic researchers to accelerate drug discovery and clinical trial programs, the companies said. 

"Bio-Reference Laboratories has accumulated a plethora of genetic and genomics data that will be invaluable to the drug discovery programs at Opko and other drug developers," Bio-Reference President, Chairman, and CEO Marc Grodman said in a statement. 

Opko is a biopharmaceutical and diagnostics firm headquartered in Miami. It will leverage Bio-Reference's national marketing, sales, and distribution resources to enhance the sale of Opko's blood-based 4Kscore test for aggressive prostate cancer, and other diagnostic products being developed. 

Opko's diagnostics services will be merged with Bio-Reference's operations, they said. 

In morning trading on Thursday, Opko's shares on the New York Stock Exchange were down about 7 percent at $17.84. Bio-Reference's shares on the Nasdaq jumped 36 percent to $44.79.