Investors Skeptical of Qiagen-Quidel Merger but Believe GenMark Diagnostics Acquisition Rumor
With pandemic pain slowly residing and lab companies awash in COVID-19 testing revenues, it’s not surprising that the M&A cauldron is heating up. While volume has yet to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, we are seeing distinct rise in the number of deals in recent weeks. But perhaps the biggest M&A story in February is the […]
With pandemic pain slowly residing and lab companies awash in COVID-19 testing revenues, it’s not surprising that the M&A cauldron is heating up. While volume has yet to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, we are seeing distinct rise in the number of deals in recent weeks. But perhaps the biggest M&A story in February is the buzz about the supposed blockbuster deals to come.
A Qiagen-Quidel Merger?
On Feb. 8, Bloomberg reported that two of the lab industry’s big “Qs,” Qiagen and Quidel, were in early merger discussions. The report cites unnamed sources as saying that Quidel approached Qiagen to gauge interest in joining forces. While both firms have successfully pivoted to meet the need for COVID-19 test products, there are strong concerns that current demands are unsustainable and that significant declines are imminent.
It sounds plausible enough. Qiagen’s molecular products fit nicely with Quidel’s point-of-care antigen and medical equipment portfolio. Qiagen has also been in play, having come within a whisker of being acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific last year. However, the Bloomberg report was met with almost universal skepticism. Naturally, neither firm would comment on “rumors.” Quidel CEO Doug Bryant was somewhat noncommittal and noted that the company is always open to “opportunities to leverage our global infrastructure or contribute to our interest in digital and telehealth.” Qiagen CEO Thierry Bernard was sharper and more direct in his denials, suggesting that the merger would dilute the firm’s activities.
Wall Street analysts aren’t buying it, either. For one thing, because Quidel is so much larger, a merger would engulf Qiagen. And it’s not just size but what one William Blair analyst describes as the “lack of obvious revenue or operating synergies” between the firms. “Qiagen is more of a life sciences company that specializes in supplying raw materials, reagents and assays for molecular analysis with a ‘diagnostics tilt,’” the analyst suggests.
Acquisition Rumors Send GenMark Diagnostics Shares into Orbit
Qiagen-Quidel wasn’t the only Bloomberg diagnostics M&A story of note in February. The financial reporting firm also cited unnamed sources as suggesting that GenMark Diagnostics is putting itself up for sale. Predictably, GenMark declined to comment on rumors. However, the story apparently had much more credence with investors, who snapped up shares of the Carlsbad-California-based company the next day, causing the stock to rise 27 percent to $21.47.
Here’s a summary of the key new M&A diagnostic deals announced in March 2021:
MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS & ASSET SALES
|Acquiring Company||Target(s)||Deal Summary|
|Hologic||Biotheranostics||Price: $230 million Status: Closed Acquisition of producer of molecular tests for breast and metastatic cancers boosts Hologic’s position in women’s health market|
|Thermo Fisher Scientific||Propel Labs (wholly owned subsidiary of Sidis)||Price: Undisclosed Status: Closed Acquisition of biotech instrumentation company whose Bigfoot Spectral Cell Sorter technology will become part of Thermo Fisher’s Biosciences business in the Life Sciences Solutions segment|
|Exact Sciences||Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)||Price: Undisclosed Status: Expected to close in Q2 Acquisition of TGen’s CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited sequencing lab Ashion Analytics to boost Exact Sciences’ efforts to develop precision oncology products, including minimal residual disease (MRD) and other sequencing-based tests|
|Veracyte||Decipher Biosciences||Price: $600 million, including $250 million cash and $350 million in Veracyte shares, subject to Veracyte’s option to pay some or all of that $350 million in cash rather than stock Status: Expected to close by May Acquisition of leading producer of urologic cancer diagnostics, including Decipher Prostate Biopsy and post-radical prostatectomy tests Decipher to become wholly owned subsidiary of Veracyte|
|Oncocyte||Chronix Biomedical||Price: Includes $2.675 million in cash and $1.5 million of Oncocyte common stock; Oncocyte to also assume up to $5.5 million in Chronix liabilities and pay share on net collected revenues for certain tests, as well as up to $14 million in cash or stock if certain milestones are achieved Status: Expected to close by end of April Merger enabling Oncocyte to acquire Chronix’s cancer immunotherapy monitoring test, TheraSure-CNI Monitor, and organ transplant monitoring technology patents|
|Cellink||Ginolis||Price: €70 million ($84.8 million), including 60% in cash and 40% in Cellink series B shares Status: Expected to close in March Ginolis provides robotics systems for manufacturing COVID-19 tests, multiplex tests, lateral flow, point-of-care tests and medical devices|
|LGC||Technopath Clinical Diagnostics||Price: Undisclosed Status: No closing date announced LGC acquires manufacturer of chemistry and immunoassay quality controls which will be absorbed into firm’s clinical diagnostics business unit|
|Horiba||MedTest Holdings||Price: Undisclosed Status: Closed Firms in MedTest Holdings include MedTest Dx, Pointe Scientific, Clinitox Diagnostix and Medical Laboratory Solutions|
|MicroGem||Jump Start Manufacturing||Price: Undisclosed Status: Closed Acquisition of engineering and manufacturing firm enables MicroGem to scale up production of its Spitfire6830 PCR-based SARS-CoV-2 saliva test|
|Tataa Biocenter||Life Genomics||Price: Undisclosed Status: Closed Tataa acquires majority stake in Swedish genetic testing company whose offerings include Roche’s Harmony noninvasive prenatal test (NIPT) for chromosomal abnormalities, a genetic disease carrier test and a test for Alzheimer’s disease risk|
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