Abbott Labs Acquires Isis Diagnostics Unit for $215M

Xconomy San Diego — 

Good news for shareholders of Carlsbad, CA-based Isis Pharmaceuticals. Abbott Laboratories, the diversified health products giant, is exercising its right to acquire Isis’ diagnostics spinoff, Ibis Biosciences, for a total of $215 million plus some future payments tied to sales of the instruments.

Abbott Park, IL-based Abbott (NYSE: ABT) will pay Isis shareholders $175 million now, to buy Isis’ 80 percent ownership stake in Ibis Biosciences, the companies said this morning in a joint statement. The deal is expected to close in January, once it gets clearance from federal regulators. Shares of Isis (NASDAQ: ISIS) climbed modestly after the announcement.

This was really not a surprise to me, since I profiled Ibis shortly after we launched Xconomy’s San Diego bureau in October. Abbott made a down payment on Ibis earlier in the year, because of its interest in the Ibis’ T5000 machine, which is used for research that can identify something new and unfamiliar like a SARS virus. The appeal with the Ibis machine is that when people walk into the hospital with nasty flu-like symptoms, and doctors don’t know where the bug came from, the custom is to take a fluid sample and grow it in a lab dish for a day or two to get enough material to find out what it is. Ibis says its tool can give a more definite answer within eight to 16 hours, by looking at the bug’s DNA.

“The broad applicability of Ibis’ technology has been demonstrated in biodefense applications, microbial forensics and infectious disease detection and surveillance, and we believe that it has the potential to be a powerful tool in the detection and surveillance of infectious diseases in the hospital and clinical settings,” said Stafford O’Kelly, Abbott’s vice president of molecular diagnostics, in a statement.

Isis shares climbed 4 percent to $12.53 at 9:43 am Eastern time.

By posting a comment, you agree to our terms and conditions.

2 responses to “Abbott Labs Acquires Isis Diagnostics Unit for $215M”

  1. Richard says:

    It will be great if this sort of diagnostic approach can really work as advertised. So many illnesses travel throughout the population in the winter and never really get identified.’I’ve got a cold’ is heard a lot but rarely is it actually caused by a Rhinovirus. But these ‘colds’ can have really harmful effects.

    For instance, there is a nasty ‘cold’ bug going around now that takes forever to get over. Our immune systems have a hard time fighting it off. I know of two cases that almost developed into pneumonia.

    But without an easy way to identify the bug, the best people can hope for are a few rounds of Cipro to prevent pneumonia, or other secondary infections, and hope the body eventually fights it off.

    Rapidly identifying what is causing the problem means we have a better chance of developing tools to fight it.

    So I hope Abbott can get this device, or one similar, everywhere.