GE Healthcare acquires Biacore Int’l. for $390 million

Jeffrey Bouley
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CHALFONT ST. GILES, U.K.—August 14, 2006—At the close of the offer period for GE Healthcare's acquisition of Biacore shares, the multinational giant had received acceptances from Biacore shareholders for more than 9.5 million shares, as well as the right to acquire more than 0.7 million warrants. Together, these give control of more than 98 percent of Biacore shares to GE Healthcare. As of August 15, Biacore became a GE Healthcare subsidiary.
UPPSALA, Sweden—As it works to grow its life sciences divi­sion, United Kingdom-based GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Co., has announced that it intends to acquire Biacore International AB, a leading pro­vider of life science tools for pro­tein research.
Biacore's board of directors has already unanimously rec­ommended that shareholders endorse the tender offer, which was expected to begin on July 10—with an anticipated closing of the deal in the third quarter of this year. If all goes according to current plans, GE's acquisition of all outstanding shares of Biacore will total approximately SEK2.9 billion—or approximately $390 million in U.S. dollars—on a fully diluted basis, net of Biacore cash and equivalents.
"Life sciences is a key area of growth for GE Healthcare, and Biacore is highly complemen­tary and synergistic with our existing protein sciences busi­ness," says Joe Hogan, president and CEO of GE Healthcare. "We are extremely excited about Biacore's prospects and believe our joint offerings will create added value for our customers in biomedical and drug discov­ery research. Expanding on GE Healthcare's expertise in this area supports our objective of helping to diagnose and treat disease earlier."
Biacore also stands to benefit a great deal from merging with GE Healthcare, Hogan notes, pointing out that the Swedish company will be able to capital­ize on GE Healthcare's global sales network and customer base in protein sciences and benefit from its significant investment in new technologies to acceler­ate medical discoveries. Hogan predicts that GE Healthcare also will be well positioned to expand the applications for Biacore's products and technologies and expand the potential markets in which to sell those products.
"I believe that by combining Biacore's technology, products and brand with GE Healthcare's broad product offering, we will be able to bring significantly enhanced solutions to the life science com­munity, where we have a number of common customers," says Erik Walldén, president and CEO of Biacore. In addition, he notes that Biacore will be able to benefit from the additional technical and com­mercial resources of GE Healthcare to accelerate its growth, particular­ly in terms of expanding its oppor­tunities in protein research.
GE already has broad experi­ence in medical imaging and infor­mation technologies, drug discov­ery, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, performance improvement and biopharmaceu­tical manufacturing technologies. But the company expects to gain a great deal from bringing Biacore into the fold and thus enhancing its positions in biomedical research, biomarker discovery, and drug discovery and development.
For example, Biacore has a high­ly regarded platform in surface plasmon resonance (SPR), a key enabling technology in proteomics that reportedly gives scientists crit­ical insights into protein function­ality, the role of proteins in normal and diseased states, and the influ­ence of potential drug candidates, notes Peter Ehrenheim, CEO of GE Healthcare Life Sciences.
In addition, Biacore's systems are used in such areas as antibody char­acterization, biomarker discovery, small molecule characterization, biopharmaceutical development and production, where GE consid­ers itself to have a strong presence.
"Biacore is already one of the fast-growing life sciences compa­nies," Ehrenheim says, "and we hope to grow Biacore even faster by investing in new technologies and tools that help researchers in the pharmaceutical industry and academia to accelerate new discov­eries in medicine."
Biacore employs approximately 300 people worldwide, operating R&D and manufacturing facilities in Uppsala, Sweden, which is the same city where GE Healthcare Life Sciences business is head­quartered. Because of the syner­gies and the close geographic prox­imity, GE Healthcare intends to combine the expertise of Biacore and GE Healthcare Life Sciences to create a global center of excellence in protein science in Uppsala.

Jeffrey Bouley

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