Innogenetics' New Chief Speaks Out
Philippe Archinard was one of the top executives at bioMerieux, the eighth largest diagnostics company, and a potential heir to Alain Merieux, the company's founder, when he left following disagreements with the new head of the company. He took a position as CEO of Innogenetics, a once high-flying biotech company with a strong emphasis on vaccines and molecular diagnostics. His mission: to fix the company's infrastructure so that it could grow, refocus its resources, and beef up its distribution in the wake of a disruption which occurred when its distribution and alliance partner International Murex was acquired by Abbott Labs in 1998.
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Innogenetics, like many biotech companies, has built a diagnostics business in order to capture short-term revenues. But it got squeezed by industry consolidation and its response is an aggressive and expensive strategy to increase its emphasis on high-margin, novel tests, which it will use to fund conversion to a direct sales and marketing network in major markets.
The $234 million purchase of International Murex Technologies Corp. by Abbott Laboratories may seem like a pricey deal, but it isn't if one considers that the whole of Murex is worth more than the sum of its parts. Murex has no stellar technology, but rather a broad portfolio of niche tests in virology and infectious diseases. Abbott is interested in Murex' blood banking business, its rapid HIV diagnostic assay, its attractive patent portfolio, and its microtiter plate technology.
Now that International Murex Technologies Corp. has resolved its patent litigation with Chiron Corp. what happens next to the mid-sized, independent diagnostics company