bioMérieux acquires BioFire Diagnostics

Transaction to involve $450 million upfront payment, as well as the purchase of BioFire's net financial debt

Kelsey Kaustinen
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MARCY L'ETOILE, France—In-vitro diagnostics company bioMérieux has announced thesigning of an agreement for the acquisition of privately held BioFireDiagnostics Inc., a Salt Lake City-based company specializing in molecularbiology. The acquisition, and pursuant access to BioFire's PCR FilmArraysystem, is expended to help bioMérieux strengthen its position in the field ofinfectious disease diagnostics.
Per the terms of the agreement, bioMérieux will acquire 100percent ownership of BioFire for $450 million, as well as BioFire's netfinancial debt. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions,including certain regulatory approvals. The deal is expected to close by theend of fiscal 2013 or early 2014.
"We could not have found a better shareholder thanbioMérieux, world leader in clinical and industrial microbiology. This is anexciting next step in the evolution of BioFire, and it will allow us to achieveour mission of helping to make the world a healthier and safer place and tocontinue to support our biodefense customers in the United States Department ofDefense and allied forces," Kirk Ririe, CEO and founder of BioFire, said in apress release. "bioMérieux's commercial network will further boost sales of ourflagship product, FilmArray. In addition, the Company's unique know-how in thefield of infectious diseases will contribute to the development of new panels,creating very attractive prospects for the future."
Acquisition costs for bioMérieux are expected to total 6million euros (approximately $7.8 million), and the transaction will be fundedthrough indebtedness. No details were released as to whether bioMérieux expectsany synergies from the acquisition, but revenue from BioFire is forecasted toboost bioMérieux's sales by roughly $80 million on a full-year basis. Given thecompany's plans to push the BioFire product line commercially, the transactionis expected to be dilutive to current operating income before non-recurringitems in 2014 and 2015.
BioFire's multiplex PCR FilmArray system is a simple, rapidmolecular biology solution that provides a syndromic approach to diagnosinginfectious diseases. 
The system analyzes a syndrome—a set of symptoms—and uses asingle reagent to identify the disease-causing organisms responsible for thatsyndrome, be they viruses or bacteria. In addition, FilmArray combines allmolecular diagnostics steps into a single process. BioFire's first commerciallylaunched solution on the system is a respiratory panel that can test for 20viruses and bacteria, with results in an hour.
A sepsis panel for the systemgained U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval at the end of June, and developmentis underway for a gastrointestinal panel and a meningitis panel. BioFire is expected to see sales of $70 million in 2013,$40 million of which is expected to result from FilmArray.
With 85 percent of bioMérieux's sales in clinicalapplications coming from infectious disease diagnostics, BioFire and theFilmArray system will allow it to further grow its expertise and footprint inthis area. And with bioMérieux's commercial network, BioFire's offerings can befurther developed and more widely marketed.
"The acquisition of BioFire fits perfectly into bioMérieux'sselective strategy for external growth. Following the AES purchase, whichstrengthened our leadership in industrial applications, the purchase of ARGENE,which showed very strong organic growth of 31 percent at the end of June 2013,as well as our recently signed partnership with Quanterix in ultrasensitive andmultiplex immunoassays, this new acquisition represents a decisive step for ourcompany," Jean-Luc Belingard, chairman and CEO of bioMérieux, commented in astatement. "It enables us to reinforce our infectious disease franchise, ourmain area of specialization. FilmArray is the only system that makes itpossible to detect disease-causing viruses and bacteria using a single reagent.As such, it eliminates the borders between different technologies, simplifyingthe diagnosis of infectious diseases and delivering faster results for betterpatient care.
"On all our markets, we now have a complete portfolio ofparticularly innovative technologies with two key benefits: enhanced medicalvalue of diagnostics and optimized workflows in medical laboratories. The SaltLake City BioFire's site will become our hub for our expansion in molecularbiology. We are especially pleased to welcome the talented employees ofBioFire, who will work in close collaboration with bioMérieux teams at ourGrenoble and Verniolle sites," Belingard concluded.
SOURCE: bioMérieux press release

Kelsey Kaustinen

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