MDS sells Central Labs business to Czura Thornton for $8 million

As part of its continuing effort to reposition the company as a medical isotope provider, MDS Inc. announced Oct. 9 that it has agreed to sell its Central Labs operation, which conducts analysis of samples from late-stage clinical trials, to private investment group Czura Thornton for approximately $8 million.

Amy Swinderman
As part of its continuing effort to reposition thecompany as a medical isotope provider, MDS Inc. announced Oct. 9 that it hasagreed to sell its Central Labs operation, which conducts analysis of samplesfrom late-stage clinical trials, to private investment group Czura Thornton forapproximately $8 million.
 
 
The agreement gives Czura Thornton, which is based inJersey, Channel Islands, MDS' Central Labs operation, including more than 600employees at six sites in Europe, North America and Asia. The proposedtransaction does not include bioanalysis operations at the MDS Pharma Servicesfacilities in Lincoln, Nebraska; Lyon, France; Montreal, Canada; and Zurich, Switzerland.
 
 
MDS will receive approximately $8 million in proceeds fromthe transaction, including certain transition services. The purchase price maybe increased by up to $4 million if certain performance thresholds are attainedby Central Labs following the closing. The transaction is subject to customarypost-closing contingencies and adjustments.
 
The transaction is expected to close in the fourth calendarquarter of 2009, and is subject to customary approvals and closing conditions.In addition, the sale of the Central Labs operations in France and Germany issubject to review and consultation with the applicable Works Councils inaccordance with labor laws in those countries.
 
David Spaight, president of MDS Pharma Services, issued astatement praising the segment's portfolio of molecular screening, profiling,drug safety assessment, early clinical research and bioanalysis services, butadded that the completed divestiture of MDS' late-stage business allows MDSPharma Services to "play to our strengths and concentrate on what we do best."
 
 
"Although our paths are diverging, I believe that MDS PharmaServices and our former late-stage operations are on the road to greatersuccess in their respective markets," Spaight stated. "Our former colleaguesare joining organizations that recognize and value their experience andexpertise. On behalf of the people of MDS Pharma Services, I congratulate ourformer colleagues, thank them for their contributions, and wish them continuedsuccess in the future."
 
On Sept. 2, MDS announced the sale of its mass spectrometrybusiness, MDS Analytical Technologies, to Danaher Corp., an instrumentmanufacturer based in Washington, D.C., for $650 million in cash. Under aseparate but concurrent arrangement, Danaher has agreed to purchase the portionof AB SCIEX, the Applied Biosystems/MDS Analytical Technologies massspectrometry joint venture held by Life Technologies Corp. The aggregatepurchase price for the combined transactions was $1.1 billion. The company alsoannounced that it intends to sell its MDS Pharma Services business, a leadingprovider of drug discovery and early-stage development solutions forpharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. (See MDS sells mass spec businessto Danaher for $650 million, ddn October2009.)
 
Assuming completion of these proposed sales, MDS will remaina publicly traded entity consisting solely of its MDS Nordion business, whichprovides medical isotopes for molecular and diagnostic imaging,radiotherapeutics and sterilization technologies.
 

"The divestiture of our Central Labs operation is anothermilestone in the company's repositioning strategy," said Stephen P. DeFalco,president and CEO of MDS Inc., in a statement.
 
 
Czura Thornton Co-Founder Nick Thornton said the companyintends to "build and strengthen" the Central Lab business, working in tandemwith Chiltern, the company's wholly owned CRO, but run separately.
 
"We believe the business' international platform,world-class facilities and highly skilled people will enhance our strong clientrelationships," Thornton said in a statement.

Amy Swinderman

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