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Passing the transplantation diagnostics torch
February 2013
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


NORCROSS, Ga.—Reportedly combining best-in-class transfusion diagnostics and best-in-class transplantation diagnostics, Immucor Inc., a provider of automated instrument-reagent systems to the blood transfusion industry, announced in January a definitive agreement to acquire the LIFECODES business, which includes a leading position in transplantation diagnostics, from Hologic Inc.  
Under the terms of the agreement, Immucor will purchase the outstanding shares of the LIFECODES business for $85 million in cash, plus an earn- out provision totaling $10 million in cash based on the achievement of certain financial targets in calendar 2013. The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including applicable regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the first calendar quarter of this year.  
The addition of LIFECODES is expected to strengthen Immucor's position in the global in-vitro diagnostics market by creating a single source for transfusion- and transplantation-related testing.  
"The LIFECODES business is recognized as a worldwide leader in transplantation diagnostics," noted Immucor in announcing the acquisition plans, "which represents a $400 million market that is growing at mid-to-high single digits."  
"Everything we do at Immucor is about helping anyone who needs blood get the right blood safely. The LIFECODES business will extend our mission to organs and stem cells," said William A. Hawkins, president and CEO of Immucor, in announcing the deal. "The clear market advantage here is that customers anywhere in the world will have a single source for proven diagnostics that has a core competency in antigen typing and antibody screening and identification."  
For its part, Hologic—a developer, manufacturer and supplier of premium diagnostics, medical imaging systems and surgical products dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of women—sees the sale of LIFECODES as a kind of new beginning.  
Hologic acquired the LIFECODES business unit as part of its acquisition of Gen-Probe Inc., which was completed in August 2012. LIFECODES sells molecular and antibody-based assays in the markets of transplant diagnostics, specialty coagulation and transfusion medicine, but from the start it was not necessarily seen as a good fit with Hologic. In fact, the company notes that the sale of LIFECODES was taken into consideration when the Hologic issued financial guidance for fiscal year 2013 on Nov. 12, 2012.
"Our sale of LIFECODES will enable Hologic to focus our resources on diagnostics opportunities that are more in line with our fundamental growth strategies," said Rob Cascella, president and CEO of Hologic, in announcing the plans to sell LIFECODES. "We are committed to reducing our debt balance and plan to use proceeds from the sale of LIFECODES for that purpose."
According to Immucor, the LIFECODES business is much like Immucor itself in that it "represents 30 years of specialty diagnostic innovation, including molecular methods, to better serve laboratories in the United States and internationally."  
Also like Immucor, The LIFECODES business specializes in pre-transplant human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing and screening to ensure the most compatible match between patient and donor, as well as post-transplant patient monitoring to aid in the identification of graft rejection, Immucor notes, and LIFECODES also offers other immune-monitoring products.  
"We are excited to welcome LIFECODES to the Immucor team," said Hawkins. "Hospital labs and blood banks rely on best-in-class technology and support to improve their operations, and achieve better healthcare outcomes. With the LIFECODES acquisition, Immucor will be well-positioned to help both transfusion centers and HLA labs anywhere in the world improve patient safety by ensuring the most compatible transfusion and transplantation."  
Neither Hologic nor Immucor could be reached for additional comment about the acquisition.  
Code: E021315



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