BioMérieux, Biocartis shut down molecular Dx development partnership

France's bioMérieux is ending a molecular diagnostics development deal with Switzerland's Biocartis in order to focus on growing its infectious disease assay development.

Both companies will still keep contact; bioMérieux said it will remain a shareholder in Biocartis, a Swiss developer of a molecular diagnostics technology program and a number of cancer tests in particular. But bioMérieux formally renounced its rights to Biocartis technology, particularly intellectual property focused on molecular microbiology. BioMérieux also plans to depreciate the net accounting value of what it loses from walking away from the collaboration and record more than $8.1 million as a corresponding, one-time non-cash expense for 2013.

BioMérieux, known more for in vitro diagnostics, explained that it would turn more of its attentions, moving forward, on boosting its infectious disease diagnostics business. Some of those efforts will involve wider marketing of the company's ARGENE assays for immunocompromised patients. But bioMérieux also has a major acquisition in the space that it must finish absorbing. The company snatched up Utah's BioFire Diagnostics for $450 million earlier in September in a move that helped consolidate its position in infectious disease testing. It had its eyes particularly on BioFire's FilmArray Diagnostic platform. One panel with the platform already has a CE mark and FDA clearance--a respiratory test that looks at 20 viruses and bacteria in 60 minutes. FilmArray also will eventually handle tests for sepsis, diarrhea, meningitis and pneumonia.

"BioMérieux is actively pursuing its strategy, as a specialized in vitro diagnostics player, primarily focusing on infectious diseases," Chairman and CEO Jean-Luc Bélingard said in a statement.

As for Biocartis, the company continues to pursue development and growth of its cancer diagnostics, with financial backers including Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Philips, RMM, Valiance and Debiopharm Group.

- read the release

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