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Quidel Acquires BioHelix for $10M Plus Milestones

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Clinical diagnostics firm Quidel said today that it has acquired BioHelix.

Under the terms of the deal, Quidel will pay BioHelix shareholders $10 million in cash, plus additional amounts in connection with an R&D earn-out based on the completion of a designated number of assays and a commercial earn-out dependent on product sales over a defined period.

BioHelix is a 2004 spinoff from New England Biolabs. In October 2009, it entered into a collaborative R&D agreement with Quidel under which the companies were to co-develop a number of handheld, disposable molecular assays using BioHelix's proprietary helicase-dependent amplification technology.

With the acquisition of BioHelix, Quidel plans to accelerate the development of its AmpliVue isothermal assays and lower the associated manufacturing costs for those assays, it said. Quidel currently sells the AmpliVue C. difficile Assay, which received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration in December of 2012.

"With the launch of AmpliVue C. difficile, we have demonstrated customer receptivity to a hand-held, disposable molecular platform, which gives us confidence that this additional investment in BioHelix and its isothermal amplification technology is warranted," Quidel President and CEO Douglas Bryant said in a statement.

Bryant added that HDA provides speed and ease of use without sacrificing sensitivity or specificity. The technology will not only benefit the company's AmpliVue assays but also Project Wildcat, its sample-to-answer molecular diagnostics platform currently under development.

Quidel plans to operate BioHelix as a wholly owned subsidiary. BioHelix CEO Huimin Kong will remain as president of the subsidiary.

In Tuesday morning trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Quidel were down a penny at $23.33.