Opko Health completes acquisition of gene-sequencing company

Miami-based Opko Health announced on Thursday it has completed the $1.47 billion acquisition of gene-sequencing diagnostics company Bio-Reference Laboratories.

Under terms of the deal announced in June, shareholders of Elmwood Park, N.J.-based Bio-Reference will receive 2.75 shares of OPKO, a pharmaceutical and diagnostics company founded serial health entrepreneur Dr. Phillip Frost, for each share of Bio-Reference common stock.

“For almost thirty years Dr. Grodman and his team at Bio-Reference Laboratories have produced a record of innovation and organic growth while building cutting edge diagnostic franchises in women's health, cancer and genetics,” Frost said in a statement.

The deal gives Opko access to Bio-Reference Labs’ genetics and genomics data, just as many companies are moving into personalized drug development, and the company says it intends to make the data available to academics and industry experts. Opko can also use Bio-Reference Labs’ laboratory services and its sales and distribution channels to boost sales of its 4Kscore test, a blood test that provides a patient's specific personalized risk score for aggressive prostate cancer, as well as other Opko diagnostic products under development.

Frost said Bio-Reference's national infrastructure, reach and extensive payer network will be invaluable to the adoption of OPKO's 4Kscore test by physicians and patients across the country. “However, even more strategic is the company's leadership position around the world in diagnostic sequencing services for rare disorders,” he said.

“This deal is an example of OPKO’s commitment to strategic growth,” said Robert L. Grossman, Greenberg Traurig Corporate & Securities Shareholder, who led the team that represented OPKO in the deal. “OPKO’s management understands the marketplace and how to find opportunities to create value for shareholders.”