Cholestech Joins Inverness’ Cardiac Diagnostics Arsenal

Hayward, CA-based Cholestech is the latest diagnostics company to be acquired by Inverness Medical Innovations, an expanding Waltham, MA, company that’s been on a buying spree as of late. The $326 million bid for Cholestech marks Inverness’ eighth acquisition this year.

This deal may not garner as many headlines as the last — Inverness recently emerged victorious in a heated bidding ward with Beckman Coulter for Biosite — but it’s significant because it indicates a strategy by Inverness to strengthen its position in the cardiac testing market. (Biosite, among other things, makes a test for heart failure.)

Cholestech makes a range of diagnostics for measuring cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. The cash-flow positive company currently has two products on the market: The LDX platform provides a complete lipid profile to assess heart-disease risk and blood cholesterol, and the GDX measures hemoglobin to monitor diabetic drug therapies and diet. With a large installed base, Cholestech has continually improved margins by increasing disposable prices.

In addition, Cholestech is partnered with a Swedish hematology company to develop an instrument to measure Complete Blood Count (CBC), the most commonly ordered test by physicians’ offices. In 2003, the last year for which data is available, 86 million CBC tests were ordered and Medicare spent $296 million on CBC tests.

Cholestech’s tests will join Inverness’ existing stable of cardiac products, which include the following: IMA, a biomarker for the assessment of myocardial ischemia; the Clearview Simplify D-dimer, a rapid, two-step test for the detection of D-dimer, which aids in the diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism; and Clearview Troponin I, a rapid, one-step qualitative test for the detection of cardiac Troponin I for screening patients suffering from chest pain.

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