PerkinElmer opens COVID-flush wallet for $155M immunodiagnostics buy

Like Hologic before it, PerkinElmer aims to spend some of the windfall it reaped over the past year from COVID-19 testing on a new acquisition, following in its fellow diagnostics developer's footsteps to tap a small European test maker to bolster its core business.

PerkinElmer has targeted the U.K.’s Immunodiagnostic Systems, a specialist producer of—you guessed it—tests for autoimmunity, endocrinology and infectious diseases.

The all-cash deal amounts to £110 million, or about $155 million U.S., for IDS’ assets and 300 global employees, though PerkinElmer describes the transaction’s total enterprise value at about £88 million, or $124 million.

The acquisition is slated to close early in this year’s third quarter. PerkinElmer aims to absorb IDS’ portfolio into its EuroImmun company, the division responsible for PerkinElmer's PCR, antigen and antibody tests for COVID-19, which helped boost its overall 2020 revenue by 31% over the previous fiscal year, for a total of $3.8 billion when including its life science segments.

The company’s testing sales alone increased 82%, bringing in about $945.7 million from its COVID-related immunodiagnostics and applied genomics offerings—overcoming deficits seen in routine testing and reproductive health revenues, driven down by postponed healthcare visits and declining birth rates.

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That includes three tests granted emergency authorizations by the FDA, as well as 13 CE-marked products aimed at the pandemic. November 2020 also saw PerkinElmer’s acquisition of the CRISPR gene editing and cell engineering specialist Horizon Discovery, based in Cambridge, U.K., for $383 million.

Those testing gains have continued upward in 2021, with diagnostics revenue topping $853 million over the first quarter, compared to the $254 million seen for the first three months of 2020. 

“The first-quarter performance reinforces that PerkinElmer is emerging from COVID as a stronger organization top-to-bottom,” President and CEO Prahlad Singh said in a statement earlier this month

The addition of IDS will be largely complementary, according to EuroImmun CEO Wolfgang Schlumberger, who added: “The cooperation of our global distribution channels, the expansion of the immunoassay portfolio in closely related indication fields and IDS's fully automated random access chemiluminescence platform strengthens our presence in immunodiagnostics.”

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Elsewhere, Hologic has found itself in a similar position: flush with cash from COVID testing and looking for a place to reinvest it in its core businesses. 

The company has inked at least four deals since the start of the year, including a $795 million offer for the Finnish-French test maker Mobidiag. Before that, it spent $230 million for the cancer diagnostic developer Biotheranostics, and $64 million for the German breast biopsy hardware player Somatex. Hologic also put down $159 million for Diagenode, the Belgian developer of more than 30 CE marked PCR tests, kits and devices.