Author: Doug Cress
E-Z-EM, a diversified provider of contrast agents for gastrointestinal radiology, will be acquired by Bracco Diagnostics, the U.S.-based subsidiary of Bracco Imaging S.p.A., for $241 million in cash. The merger is expected to close sometime in early April.
Under the terms of the agreement, EZ stockholders will receive $21 per share in cash. In October, when the merger was announced, EZ had been trading in the $16 range.
E-Z-EM markets approximately 30 fluoroscopy formulations, 11 varieties of CT contrast media, and radiological medical devices, such as entry biopsy needles and trays and mammography wipes. EZ also offers contract manufacturing services for diagnostic contrast media, sunscreen lotions and creams, cough and cold medicines as well as anti-aging and moisturizer skin care products.
EZ’s products and services, especially its Computed Tomography (CT) business, will dovetail nicely with Bracco’s. Bracco markets a diverse line of nuclear medicine, X-Ray, and MRI imaging products.
EZ’s contrast agents for gastrointestinal radiology include VoLumen, a patent-pending, low-density barium sulfate suspension for use as an oral contrast in multi-detector CT and PET/CT studies. The company also makes Empower, the first family of CT injectors on the market for detecting contrast extravasation.
The company’s Virtual Colonoscopy (VC) is a less invasive, faster and less unpleasant alternative to barium enemas or optical colonoscopies. It uses a CT scanner and three-dimensional imaging software to image the colon. VC is gaining ground as the preferred technique for completing a colon exam after a failed or incomplete colonoscopy.
EZ has developed a full line of products to complement VC including tools focused on patient preparation (meals, colon cleansing kits, tagging agents), procedural apparatus (automated colonic distention, data interrogation), as well as training and marketing resources.
The diagnostic imaging industry continues to move towards digital image management and cross-sectional imaging; especially as antiquated systems are replaced with multi-detector CT (MDCT) scanners. In 2005, EZ’s CT imaging product sales surpassed x-ray fluoroscopy sales. During this period, gains in CT products sales were driven by double-digit growth in EZ’s CT injector business.
Computed Tomography currently accounts for the largest share of the medical imaging market — an estimated $2.3 billion in 2007 — and predicted to top $3.2 billion by 2012.