Inverness Strengthens Its Hand; Cygnus Plays a Card
Inverness Medical Technology's purchase of struggling diabetes testing start-up LXN fits well with the larger company'stwo-pronged strategy of cementing its relationship with J&J's LifeScan Inc. business unit and diversifying into emerging areas of diabetes testing. Inverness also announced that the partners have amended their distribution and marketing agreement to give LifeScan bigger discounts on meters in return for bigger purchase orders.
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Inverness Medical Innovations, a point-of-care diagnostics company, made a splash with its $1.6 billion acquisition of Biosite. But the purchase was merely the latest step in a long-time strategy of growing through acquisition.
In the past two years, Inverness Medical Innovations has paid a total of roughly $500 million to buy five rapid point-of-care (POCT) diagnostic testing businesses, which now lie at the heart of its effort to expand in the POCT realm. These have laid the ground work for four subsequent transactions and related financings, all aimed at making Inverness a world leader in women's health and pregnancy testing. But what's of interest isn't so much the women's health play per se as the company's management tream, which has twice before built up POCT companies, then sold them for significant premiums.
Less than a month after the LifeScan subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson said it was buying Inverness Medical Technologies, one of its main suppliers, it solidified another old friendship, this time with Novo Nordisk, the Danish maker of insulin and insulin delivery systems. The two companies announced a global alliance to develop and market a series of diabetes management devices--but withheld details. The two companies had previously teamed up in 1995.