MEDTOX Joins LabCorp

MEDTOX Scientific, a provider of specialized laboratory testing services and point-of-care testing (POCT) devices, announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp). Under the terms of the agreement, LabCorp will acquire MEDTOX for a cash purchase price of $27.00 per share, representing a total value of approximately $241 million. The MEDTOX board of directors unanimously approved the agreement and recommended that MEDTOX's shareholders approve the transaction. "We are extremely pleased that MEDTOX, a premier forensic and clinical laboratory with a reputation for exceptional quality, dependability, and customer service is joining our family," said David King, chairman and CEO of LabCorp. "MEDTOX is an industry leader in specialized toxicology testing. This acquisition provides a strong foundation for growth in this business, as we build and expand LabCorp's Toxicology Center of Excellence and add to the unrivaled assets of the LabCorp Specialty Testing Group." The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2012.

PrimeraDx Signs Pharmacogenomics Deal with Eli Lilly

Molecular diagnostics firm PrimeraDx announced that it has entered into a multi-year relationship with Eli Lilly and Company to develop companion diagnostics in support of multiple programs for new drugs in Eli Lilly's pipeline. Under the terms of this agreement, the two companies will collaborate to develop multiplex assays on PrimeraDx's clinical ICEPlex System diagnostics platform. "We have great expectations of our collaboration with PrimeraDx," said Andrew Schade, MD, senior director of the clinical diagnostics lab at Eli Lilly. "The unique ability of the ICEPlex System to combine multiple DNA and RNA biomarkers into a single multiplex assay could prove invaluable in our drive to develop companion diagnostics for crucial assets in our clinical pipeline." The early focus of the collaboration will be oncology, Schade added, but could expand into other disease areas in the future.

Foundations Boost Support for Cepheid TB Test

UNITAID, a World Health Organization (WHO)-administered charity focusing on infectious diseases, approved funding of $30 million to scale up access to Cepheid's diagnostic test for tuberculosis, the Xpert MTB/RIF assay. Through the agreement reached by UNITAID, the U.S. Government, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Cepheid will reduce the price of diagnostic cartridges from its current of approximately $17 to less than $10. According to UNITAID, the Xpert assay represents a major advance for the diagnosis of tuberculosis because is based on recognition of the DNA of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis and provides dependable results directly from sputum samples in less than 2 hours. This method is more reliable than microscopy, currently used in most laboratories. In addition, Xpert also detects resistance to rifampicin, one of the most commonly used drugs for the treatment of tuberculosis. The price reduction will allow an accelerated roll-out of the test for more than 145 purchasers in low- and middle-income countries.

Agreement Moves Forward for POC Eye Pathogen Test System

Rapid Pathogen Screening (RPS) and NicOx S.A. announced that they have entered into a licensing agreement giving NicOx worldwide rights to point-of-care tests in the ocular field. The first of these is the AdenoPlus test, the only FDA-cleared and CLIA-waived rapid, in-office diagnostic test that detects all known serotypes of adenovirus in the eye. The test identifies patients with adenoviral conjunctivitis using a small tear sample and provides results in 10 minutes. The licensing agreement grants NicOx exclusive rights to market the AdenoPlus test to eye care professionals in the U.S., as well as full exclusive rights to market the test in the rest of the world. RPS maintains rights to commercialize these ocular tests to primary and urgent care professionals in the U.S.