Vive la France
December 2012
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author


PARIS—Aimed at bolstering France as global leader of in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) while enhancing its bottom line, Paris-headquartered Exonhit will merge with Chilly-Mazarin, France-based InGen Biosciences to create a French IVD company under the new name Diaxonhit.
Exonhit announced Nov. 6 that it signed an agreement to purchase InGen for $23.1 million in a cash-and-stock deal. Pending the approval of Exonhit's shareholders, the acquisition is expected to close before the end of December.  
Specializing in diagnostics for oncology and Alzheimer's disease, Exonhit believes Diaxonhit will emerge as strong player in the IVD market. Diaxonhit will develop molecular and nonmolecular diagnostics in immuno-infection, Alzheimer 's disease and cancer, according to Exonhit.
InGen leads the French market in tests for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) for determining the compatibility of donors and recipients in organ and bone marrow transplants. Other InGen products include immunoassay tests, emergency tetanus tests and a diagnostic for detecting infections in prosthetic joints. Today, more than 250,000 joint replacements are performed annually in France and 3.5 million worldwide.
InGen's strong hospital presence and partnerships will provide Diaxonhit an extensive distribution network for products developed in-house, as well as those by partners, Exonhit states, adding that the merging of the two companies will result in increased financial strength. This provides Diaxonhit with substantial investment capacity.
"Through this transaction, the magnitude of our business will change significantly, a key step for both our companies, all of our employees and our shareholders," Loïc Maurel, president and CEO of Exonhit, said in a statement. "InGen's distribution network is a tremendous asset for the commercialization of our new diagnostic products such as AclarusDx in Alzheimer's disease. With this union we will become a fully integrated player in the field of in-vitro diagnostics in France and have a stronger financial capacity, enabling us to better serve our ambition for growth."  
Exonhit Chief Financial Officer Herve Duchesne de Lamotte tells ddn that the merger and formation of a new company spells a "change in the business model of Exonhit."
"In particular, Diaxonhit will immediately focus its efforts on developing its distribution activities based on the sales organization already in place and accelerating the development of high-added-value proprietary innovative diagnostic products, as well as the pipeline of InGen Biosciences including BJO Inoplex, an innovative proprietary diagnostic test to detect infections associated with prosthetic joints, " Duchesne de Lamotte says.  
The new Diaxonhit group, operating in France, Belgium and Switzerland, not only stands to benefit from both companies' business models, activities and know-how, but will benefit from significant synergies, mainly based on future cost avoidance—and a reduction in its cash burn, he adds.
Diaxonhit will bring to the table innovative R&D, marked by a broadened and diversified portfolio of products under development, including both innovative molecular and non-molecular diagnostics spread over three main specialty areas: immuno-infection, Alzheimer's disease and cancer.  
"The merger with Exonhit represents for us, at InGen BioSciences, a real opportunity to join an actor with a strong portfolio of innovative products," says Jean-Pierre Hermet, chairman of the supervisory board of InGen Biosciences. "Our expertise and respective strengths will allow, I believe, the rapid integration of the new group and will accelerate its development. This merger is the first stage of Diaxonhit's ambitious strategy. To achieve the optimum size in a highly competitive and rapidly consolidating environment, the new group will continue to pursue the identification of potential acquisition targets to support its development."
Code: E121214

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