Monday, June 09, 2008

Third Wave Technologies Purchase Offer

Madison based Third Wave Technologies, Inc. (TWTI) has agreed to be acquired in whole by Bedford, MA based Hologic Inc. (HOLX) for $580 million dollars. The 180 employees in Wisconsin should be unaffected by the ownership change.

GEN News: Third Wave develops and markets molecular diagnostic reagents for DNA and RNA analysis based on its Invader® chemistry. … The company recently submitted to the FDA PMA applications for two HPV tests.

“Hologic has an established sales and distribution network for women's health as well as extensive relationships with clinical labs and OB/GYN channels,” according to Jack Cumming, chairman and CEO of Hologic. “If and when Third Wave's HPV tests receive FDA approval, which we hope will be in the first half of calendar 2009, we will be well-positioned to take these products quickly and effectively to market.”

Both companies are operating at a loss and Hologic intends to borrow $600 million to finance the acquisition. Because the current market for human papillomavirus (HPV) testing to find the four types of the virus associated with disease is only $200 million annually, someone is convinced this market is going to expand considerably in the very near future. I suspect now that drug giant Merck has an approved vaccine in Gardasil they will continue to market their concern about the need for universal testing. Once you have a preventive treatment, the task becomes finding as many people as possible “at risk”.