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Finnish Firms Combine to Form Point-of-Care Testing Firm

NEW YORK ─ Biotech companies Abacus Diagnostica, Kaivogen, and Labrox announced Tuesday that they are combining to create an in vitro diagnostics firm to develop near-patient antibody and PCR tests for infectious diseases and cancers that could be run from a single device.

The platform under development will leverage PCR technology and a single sample to identify more than 10 bacteria or viruses and determine whether a patient's symptoms are caused by SARS-CoV-2, the flu, or a cold, the firms said, adding that they are developing the device's antibody testing technology to detect cancers and prolonged infections.

They said that their new testing platform, scheduled for launch in 2024, will harness the expertise of the three companies and that the new combination expands an ongoing collaboration.

The Turku, Finland-based companies have joint research and development and marketing initiatives and have been suppliers to each other. They said that their combination will enable larger investments in R&D and sales, generate operational synergies, and expand their combined customer base.

"Our objective is to help doctors confirm the patient's diagnosis … at the very first appointment, avoiding days of waiting for test results — regardless of whether the patient has symptoms of cancer, coronavirus, or any other infectious disease," Abacus Diagnostica CEO Erno Sundberg said in a statement.

The firms had combined annual net sales of €12 million ($15.4 million) in 2020 and expect net sales of €14 million in 2021.

The new company, which expects to soon decide on a name, will be owned primarily by current shareholders and have about 90 employees. A board of directors and CEO are expected to be appointed during the autumn.

The transaction to combine the firms will be implemented through a share swap agreement and is expected to be completed in October.

Abacus Diagnostica is a developer and manufacturer of rapid PCR tests used mainly in hospital laboratories; Kaivogen specializes in immunoassays and antibody tests; and Labrox manufactures microplate readers and test instruments for point-of-care testing.