PerkinElmer has announced the acquisition of Macri Technologies and NTL Laboratories in a deal that means the Health Sciences and Photonics company take charge of a novel screening test for first-trimester prenatal risk assessment.
With this acquisition PerkinElmer expands its diagnostics capabilities in maternal health, a burgeoning sector that according to the World Health Organisation, can fall into five direct causes, each of which require specialised screening capabilities.
Out of the 80 per of maternal deaths that occur haemorrhaging accounts for 25 per cent while sepsis, (15 per cent); unsafe abortion, (13 per cent); hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, (12 per cent); obstructed labour, (8 per cent) and other direct causes, (8 per cent).
The agreement builds upon recent announcements by the company related to its screening and diagnostics strategies.
These included a global licensing agreement to develop assay kits for the ADAM12 biochemical marker, which has broad potential in maternal health screening for foetal chromosomal abnormalities; and the securing of global rights for PP13 (Placental Protein 13), a new prospective biomarker for identifying patients at risk for pre-eclampsia in the first trimester.
"This acquisition represents the next step in our initiative to build a comprehensive screening and diagnostics capability in maternal health," said Gregory Summe, chairman and chief executive officer of PerkinElmer.
"It provides a leading position in free Beta hCG measurement in the US and will be an integral part of expanding our maternal health portfolio globally."
Under the terms of the deal, PerkinElmer paid out $56.65m (€44.5m) for the acquisition of Macri Technologies and NTD Laboratories, a reference laboratory specialising in prenatal risk assessment.
NTD offers laboratory developed and validated testing under the brand name UltraScreen, of which free Beta hCG is a vital component.
Free Beta hCG is a peptide hormone produced in the early stage of pregnancy that is widely recognised as a critical biomarker for first-trimester prenatal risk assessment.
"This acquisition provides an opportunity to strengthen our position with clinicians and laboratory partners as a result of NTD's relationships with maternal health care providers," said Robert Friel, president, PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences.
"We expect this agreement will accelerate PerkinElmer's own maternal health research and development initiatives, by giving us the ability to better understand first-hand the needs of the clinical community."
Friel also mention future plans in which the introduction of the free Beta hCG biomarker, which is used throughout Europe, on PerkinElmer's proprietary platforms was a distinct possibility.
More than 400,000 insurance-covered assessments have been performed since the introduction of the NTD testing service in 1997.