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IRIS opens on diagnostics
December 2012
by Amy Swinderman  |  Email the author


WASHINGTON, D.C.—Continuing its longtime acquisition strategy, Danaher Corp. announced on Nov. 1 its purchase of IRIS International Inc., a manufacturer of automated in-vitro diagnostics systems and consumables, for $19.50 per share, or $338 million in cash.  
That price tag represented an approximate 45-percent premium over the closing price of IRIS' common stock on Sept. 14. The tender offer was made through Danaher's wholly owned subsidiary, Daphne Acquisition Corp., and because it brought Danaher's shares of IRIS to approximately 92 percent, the deal closed on Oct. 31 without stockholder approval.
Although most of Danaher's acquisitions are usually made under a certain cloak of obscurity, as the company rarely comments on its purchases, more is known about this one, as IRIS will be folded into Beckman Coulter Inc., which Danaher acquired in early 2011.
"Beckman Coulter is a leader in lab automation, so the idea of bringing a fairly automated system into our portfolio just reinforced our primary differentiator, which is to help labs become more efficient and enhance their manual processes," Mary Luthy, director of corporate communications at Beckman Coulter, tells ddn.  
Founded in 1979, IRIS' portfolio focuses on medical diagnostics and sample-processing products. The company invented and introduced the first automated urinalysis system, and has workstations with the technology installed in major medical institutions throughout the world.
"Their biggest complement with Beckman Coulter is their urinalysis products, both automated and semi-automated," says Luthy.
In addition, IRIS' Personalized Medicine subsidiary seeks to enable the advancement of predictive and personalized cancer treatment options via the commercialization of advanced assays based on a proprietary technology platform, the Nucleic Acid Detection Immuno- Assay (NADiA). NADiA combines the specificity of monoclonal antibody capture with the sensitivity of real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) detection that has the potential to detect proteins with femtogram per milliliter sensitivity. This provides a unique opportunity for quantifying extremely low concentrations of tumor marker proteins that are below the detection threshold of current assay methods, according to IRIS.
"As Beckman Coulter is a leader in prostate cancer diagnostics, we find their work in this area promising, but it is still too early to talk about any research we might do in this area," Luthy notes.  
At press time, decisions about how the acquisition would impact IRIS' 300-plus employees and facilities were still being made, according to Luthy. IRIS has locations stateside in Chatsworth and Carlsbad, Calif. and Westwood, Mass., as well as facilities abroad in France, Germany and the United Kingdom.  
"There is no intent to physically move anybody, but our reporting structure is still being determined as part of our integration planning," Luthy adds.
IRIS did not respond to requests for comment.
Code: E121213



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