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Abbott to Take Minority Interest in Ibis Biosciences

Carlsbad-based biotechnology company Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Jan. 31 that Abbott Laboratories agreed to invest up to $40 million in its subsidiary, Ibis Biosciences Inc., with the option to buy the company.

Under the terms of the deal, Abbott will initially obtain a 10.25 percent stake in the company for $20 million. It will also have the option to invest an additional $20 million before July 31, for total ownership of 18.6 percent. Additionally, Abbott will have the option to purchase the remaining equity in Ibis for $175 million to $195 million through June 2009.

The option exercise price can increase to the $190 million to $210 million range if Ibis meets certain regulatory benchmarks, the company said.

Isis said the investment will allow Ibis to further develop its biosensor system, called the Ibis T5000, capable of identifying dangerous bacteria, fungi and viruses in about five hours.

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Ibis President Michael Treble said in a statement that Ibis is looking to expand its offerings from government, epidemiology and clinical research applications to hospital-based infections and, eventually, to diagnostics.

Abbott is a leader in the in-vitro diagnostics business with immunoassays and blood screening. Its medical tests and diagnostic instruments are used worldwide by hospitals, laboratories and doctor’s offices to diagnose and monitor diseases such as cancer, heart failure and HIV.

, Heather Chambers

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